Counseling options are rapidly growing and Teletherapy is center stage of it.
Teletherapy or video counseling is therapy done through a live video connection, over the internet. Clients can get the same type of counseling they could receive in person, it’s just done through a computer!
If you’ve ever used Skype or FaceTime, you’ve used the same type of technology teletherapy uses. You do not need any additional apps, just your laptop or tablet (preferred), your cell phone, and a strong internet and/or wi-fi connection.
This convenient, new mode of counseling offers many benefits, but also has some risks. Below are common questions about teletherapy to help you decide if it’s the right option for you.
Is Teletherapy private?
Yes. Licensed counselors are ethically and legally bound to a privacy protection law called HIPAA.
When working with a counselor through teletherapy, they will likely ask you to use their secure, HIPAA compliant video platform. Your counselor will also be in a private, secure place for the video session with you. Your risk for a privacy breach will largely be in your hands. If you open up your computer in Starbucks for a session, your session will not be private. If you go to a quiet, private space, your privacy will be protected just as it would be in a traditional session.
Does Teletherapy work as well as traditional counseling?
Yes, teletherapy is very effective.
Research on the matter shows that video counseling is just as helpful as counseling done in person. Teletherapy is also very convenient and accessible, which helps people with consistency in counseling sessions.
With that said, there are some areas, particularly in family and couples counseling, that have not been researched as well. There’s also something to say for not being able to shake hands or toss a nerf ball with your counselor.
Who is teletherapy for/not for?
Video counseling has great benefits for many people, but it is not for everyone or for all situations.
Filtering if teletherapy is right for you starts with your own personal comfort with it. If the idea sounds great, then your next step is to talk with your counselor to make sure they also agree. Your counselor will need to make sure that they are in compliance with all licensing requirements for your locations and that they feel comfortable with video sessions for your situation.
Will my insurance cover teletherapy?
In general, yes. Most insurance policies will cover teletherapy as part of your mental health treatment options. All insurance policies are different, so the best place to find this answer is to contact your insurance company directly. We can only provide teletherapy if you live in the State of California.
What are the risks?
All counseling has a risk because the process toward change can be messy. Teletherapy carries the same risk of traditional therapy along with a few additional considerations, the biggest being a failure of technology. Most counselors will have a backup plan like having a phone session or rescheduling option if technology fails.
Where can I find a counselor who offers video sessions?
There are many online therapy options today. Here at Livewell, we offer teletherapy appointments through SimplePractice which a HIPAA compliant telehealth portal. We are passionate about giving people access to high-quality counseling services and we are committed to improving the lives of children, teens, adults, couples, and families.
We would be more than happy to speak with you about your situation and if we are the right fit. Please contact us at (559) 554.9710 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org