Pacific CBT therapists offer services through video conferencing. In our fast-paced lives, visiting a therapist for psychotherapy in person may be impossible or very inconvenient for some clients. Technology advances have made it possible, in some cases, for therapists to offer services via video conferencing. This service is called teletherapy or telehealth.
There are many factors to consider when choosing teletherapy versus in-person sessions. The decision should be made in collaboration with a therapist experienced providing this type of service. It is a unique service that requires specialized training.
Here are some of the pros and cons of teletherapy:
- It is more convenient to receive therapy from your home or workplace.
- There is no need to contend with commute time and traffic.
- It’s possible to have access to services that might not available in rural or underserved communities.
- It provides services to those who are housebound or immobile.
- It’s a new way of delivering services; we don’t know if it’s as effective as in-person therapy.
- There’s the loss of the “human” element of communicating with someone in the same room.
- Some of the nuisances of communication may be lost due to the two-dimensional nature of video therapy.
- It’s not ideal for clients who are in crisis or experiencing acute symptoms who might need the “containment” of being in a therapist’s office.
- The therapist will not be as familiar with adjunct services in the community that may be beneficial to the client.
- Some techniques used in therapy require hands-on demonstration and practice.
- The platforms that therapists use should be HIPAA-compliant and guarded with the highest level of internet security. However, there is still the remote possibility that privacy can be compromised.
- Insurance companies may not cover services offered by video conferencing.
- The reliability of video conferencing may vary due to a variety of factors that may be outside of your control, i.e. DSL service disruption, platform reliability, etc.
Here are some considerations:
- State licensing boards regulate the psychological services received by its residents. As a rule, your therapist will need to be licensed to practice in the state you hold residence.
- When traveling out of state or abroad, teletherapy could be a way of continuing to receive therapy, provided your residence does not change.
- Teletherapy is an emerging means of service delivery. Check that your therapist has received training to provide this service.
- Plan to insure you will have privacy at the location where you will receive the teletherapy session.
- Test your equipment and the video platform the therapist uses before the first session. Also, DSL reception can vary by time of day, changes to location in house or office, the number of people drawing from the connection, and changes in weather.
- Check with your insurance company before starting teletherapy. Some insurance plans will not cover sessions delivered out of the office.
- When possible, try to schedule an in-person session with your therapist. It can be helpful to make the person-to-person connection.
- If you are in crisis or experiencing acute symptoms, let your therapist know as soon as possible. It might be necessary to have you seen by a local therapist or provide you will resources in your community.