As the COVID-19 crisis continues and social distancing and stay-at-home orders become our norm, it is more important than ever to stay connected.
This is especially true for those in our community who are experiencing fear, depression, grief, anxiety and difficult relationships. Thankfully many mental health therapists have moved client sessions onto secure teletherapy platforms such as simplepractice.com, doxy.me or zoom.com allowing them to continue to support their clients during these difficult times. If you are feeling alone but unsure that teletherapy is for you, keep reading! In this post I will demystify teletherapy, provide examples of how it can benefit you right now and show 4 easy tips for getting started.
What Is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is the delivery of mental health services via a high resolution, HIPPA compliant, live, video platform. Teletherapy, also known as virtual therapy, telehealth, online counseling, telemental health and video counseling is usually conducted via computer video conferencing. Teletherapy sessions are similar to in person sessions in terms of time and availability to individuals, couples, families or groups.
Online therapy has been available in the United States since the 1990’s and has been pivotal in providing mental health services to clients living in remote locations, have extreme anxiety or who do not have access to transportation. Research has show that teletherapy sessions can be just as effective as in-person appointments. The Colorado Department of Regulations (DORA) following guidance from the CDC recently provided an update to mental health professionals allowing new clients to be seen via teletherapy without an initial face to face meeting.
Why is Teletherapy Important Right Now?
Teletherapy is an invaluable tool that has allowed therapists to continue to care for new and existing clients during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Uncertainty and fear can often lead to feelings of helplessness and as we are asked to self isolate these negative feelings, traumatic change and loss of connection can feel like a very dark place. As it became clear that social distancing was key to keeping clients safe and healthy, therapists have moved their sessions online and are offering virtual therapy to anyone who may be experiencing fear, anxiety, depression or feelings of isolation. Local low cost clinics such as Denver Family Institute have also been providing uninterrupted services online. In short, therapists care about their clients and have quickly shifted their practices to continue the support, healing and connection desperately needed during these uncertain times. Teletherapy is a safe and proven option for those in need of help right now.
4 Easy Tips For Getting Started With Teletherapy
- Find a therapist who is offering teletherapy /Ask your current therapist if they offer online sessions (confirm that your therapist is using a HIPPA compliant video platform). Set up an appointment.
- Make sure that you have access to one of the following: desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet or smartphone. Your device will need to have a built in webcam and speakers.
- You will also need an internet connection that is at least 10 mbps. you can test your internet connection speed by simply searching “internet speed test”. If your speed is under 10 mbps you may need to restart your router or use an Ethernet wired connection to insure uninterrupted and high quality service.
- Find a private space to do a video call. This should be away from other household members and potential distractions. You may need to make arrangements with roommates or family members to take a walk outside when you are having your session. Some clients may decide to meet while sitting in their car in their driveway.
- If you do not have access to a device that has video and speakers or internet. Therapists can provide help via the telephone.
Teletherapy can be an important part of taking care of yourself at this time and as we return to our new normal.
In these times of uncertainty and stress it is important to keep yourself and your family safe. In Colorado this currently means social distancing and self isolation measures to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading and also affecting our most vulnerable populations. Teletherapy can be an important part of taking care of yourself at this time and as we return to our new normal. Research has shown that teletherapy sessions are as affective as in person sessions and current technology offers secure, HIPPA compliant platforms on which to meet. Luckily, getting started with teletherapy is easy. Remember you are not alone.
If you are in need of emotional support during this time or are just interested in trying out a teletherapy session please contact me email@example.com or 720-336-9220 for a FREE consult session. You can also set up a teletherapy appointment through my website www.susanterkhorn.com. I look forward to connecting with you. Together we will get through this.