March 19, 2020
Leeor is our Teletherapy expert. She has been doing teletherapy since grad school. As someone who personally loves it, she breaks down if its a good option for you and commonly asked questions.
Originally utilized by the military to treat veterans and serve clients in rural areas, teletherapy is an online mental health counseling system that allows people to get therapy from the comfort of their own home. With more HIPPA compliant technology than ever and especially with the current health events going on in the world, teletherapy is becoming more important than ever. Many insurances do not allow teletherapy, however because our practice is out-of-network with insurances, anyone can engage in teletherapy!
“Teletherapy is the new frontier in mental health counseling. It’s amazing how it’s caught on: It’s private. It’s convenient. It’s comfortable for both the therapist and client. And it eliminates the stress of traffic and time”- Gaoli Saedi Bocci, a Mental Health Therapist states.
Q: AM I A CANDIATE FOR TELETHERAPY?
Anyone with a working computer or smart phone that includes a webcam and has privacy is able to join for a teletherapy session. Recent studies show a higher rate of ‘burnout’ in the work place where stress is easily mismanaged. Because many people are concerned with the number of hours they spend in their office, they oftentimes find themselves rushing to get home after a long tiring day.
Millenials currently comprise the majority of the U.S workforce. They often state that the concept of separation between work and free time doesn’t exist. If you feel that way, perhaps teletherapy is a good choice for you.
Some teletherapists are able to take health insurance, while others are private pay, like us. The biggest issue with health insurance supporting the session is that some don’t cover teletherapy, but do cover face to face.
One thing most people don’t know is that when you see a therapist through your health insurance, that therapist is required to supply a diagnosis to the insurance company. Some people are hesitant with being ‘marked’ as something, so they oftentimes prefer to see a therapist through private pay.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TELETHERAPY AND FACE-TO-FACE?
A recent survey of insured adults throughout the U.S. found that millennials were far more likely to express interest in telemedicine compared to prior generations.
For example, let’s say you live in an extremely remote location in the state of Pennsylvania (which is pretty large), what are your chances of finding a therapist that meets your needs? Probably not so great. Teletherapy allows therapists to reach individuals living all over their state.
Teletherapy may not be an “alternative” to a traditional face-to-face care, but it is definitely effective and has many pros. It ensures comfortability and allows people to sit in the comfort of their own home or office (if it is secure), while communicating via a mobile device or computer.
Another awesome advantage to teletherapy is giving your kids the option of being able to see someone without the stressors of finding them a ride. I have been able to see adolescents through teletherapy, which has led parents to express how comfortable and easy it is for their child to access the help they need. This also gives the kid autonomy to plan their own schedule and meet up with the therapist whenever they need.
BUT WHAT IF I’M UNCOMFORTABLE TALKING ON THE PHONE?
We get it, some of us get phone anxiety. Often we see this comes from trying to make sure there are no pauses or awkward silences. Or sometimes clients feel like they need to make sure their therapist feels okay. Try to remember, its your therapist’s job to create a comfortable environment, not yours. If you feel nervous or hesitant, let’s talk about it! Often talking about these concerns completely reduces the awkwardness and makes it easy to create conversation.
Like anything else, it may take a time or two for you to get comfortable with it, but most of our clients report that when they get in the groove, they sometimes forget we aren’t in person. If you don’t like eye contact, you don’t have to look us in the eye. If you don’t like seeing your face, feel free to put a post-it-note over yourself. There are lots of ways to make this option work for you!
WHAT’S TELETHERAPY LIKE AT THERAPY FOR WOMEN?
Before our session begins, we will have you fill out some paperwork so your therapist can learn a bit more about you prior to us meeting via the web. The paperwork will ask you some basic demographic questions like your first name, last name, birth date, age, occupation/school. Then it will also ask you some more personal question too.
Once we meet, we typically go over all the paperwork you’ve completed and let you ask any questions you may have on it. During this time, we explain to you that anything you say here stays here unless we feel you may harm yourself or others. After that, we ask you to tell us about YOU. Your hobbies, family members, significant others (if relevant), occupation/school, support systems, and anything else you feel would be important for us to know about you.
Once we go over all of that, and we may find ourselves to be all over the place (which is extremely normal), I typically set aside the last 15 minutes of the session for you to tell me what brought you into therapy and what some of your goals are.
Therapy is not linear. Therapy is like a roller coaster with high highs and low lows, and also some looptyloops added in there. You may leave a session feeling relieved and ready to conquer the world- or you may leave confused and unsure of what your next step is. We cannot stress this enough- that is completely normal!! You are a human being living on earth, and with that comes a ton of uncertainty.
Teletherapy may not be right for everyone, but we are sure grateful to have the option. If you move, can’t make it into the office, or we happen to be on a social distancing city shutdown (like right now), teletherapy is an awesome alternative to coming into the office.