Among the many changes brought on by COVID, the disruption of regular appointments for those of us who benefit from counseling or therapy sessions, widespread shut-downs have meant a transformation of our mental health.
Thankfully, telehealth services are providing a means by which patients can contact their mental health professionals. Telehealth refers to any use of technology, most often video chats, which allow healthcare providers to provide their patients with mobile health care.
Teletherapy is a specific form of telehealth which involves consultation with a mental health professional. Although teletherapy has existed for many decades, it has become more prominent with the onset of COVID, which caused most mental health professionals to close down their physical offices and move their services online.
What advantages do teletherapy sessions provide to patients?
- Convenience: quality healthcare is a link away, doing away with the need for commutes or lengthy waits, and making it so that sessions no longer take up such a long time in your day.
- Comfort: many people find that, in the well-known environment of home, they’re more likely to open up and make the full use of their session.
- Connectedness: teletherapy transcends geography, allowing patients to be paired with the healthcare providers with whom they feel the most comfort and rapport.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, teletherapy provides all these advantages while still retaining the efficacy of standard in-person consultations. Although interacting via a screen presents new challenges to both provider and patient, in time, both parties can get used to it and achieve a therapeutic interaction that’s constructive.
As a licensed social worker, I provide teletherapy to all of my clients, using it to achieve the same goals of self-development and insight that I would during an in-office consultation. So far, the feedback on this service has been overwhelmingly positive, with patients appreciating the opportunity to contribute to their mental health from the comfort of their own homes.
My teletherapy sessions are conducted on a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform, which ensures the session’s privacy. It’s easy to use, and it allows for continued and uninterrupted communication between provider and patient.
Presently Michigan law makes it so that most teletherapy services are covered by insurance. Federal expansions in response to COVID have made it so that it’s easier than ever to receive teletherapy service, providing for a great need of mental health services in response to increased anxiety and reduced accessibility of mental health professionals.
While COVID has disrupted many aspects of our routines, there’s no reason why it should interrupt our mental well-being. Teletherapy is an effective and convenient way to consult with a licensed mental health therapist. In these uncertain times, help is just a click away.