Teletherapy in the Age of COVID-19

Teletherapy

As people’s circumstances continue to change on a daily basis amid the ongoing pandemic, many mental health clinicians have made the switch to only provide therapy via teletherapy. This means that clinicians are able to speak with and see their clients using a video application for therapy appointments. This shift to teletherapy provides people with more of an opportunity to receive therapy services and still maintain the recommendations to practice social distancing and to shelter at home.  

Benefits of Teletherapy

·        Convenience – Teletherapy can allow you to engage in therapy sessions from the comfort of your own home. The lack of having to commute to a therapy office may also reduce stress, eliminate travel time and associated risks.

·        A Recharge for Parents – Parents who have had to suddenly adjust to sheltering at home and are struggling to maintain routines and structure with their children can benefit from speaking with a family therapist.

·        A Breather for Couples – Couples who have had to suddenly adjust to spending more time at home together and are experiencing an increase in relationship issues can benefit from speaking with a relationship therapist. A relationship therapist can offer healthy conflict resolution skills, improve communication skills, and navigate other potential areas of relationship concerns.

·        Connection for Isolated Seniors – Senior citizens feeling increasingly anxious or depressed while isolated in their own home have the opportunity to connect with a therapist over teletherapy or, in some cases, over the phone.

·        Secure – We use a secure, encrypted, and HIPAA-compliant system to conduct teletherapy sessions.

·        Insurance Coverage – While we cannot guarantee the approval of a health insurance claim, many health insurance companies do recognize the use of teletherapy.  

The Switch to Teletherapy

The switch to teletherapy, for some, may be a seamless transition while for others it may seem uncomfortable. Teletherapy sessions attempt to recreate as much of the in-person experience as possible. Your clinician will generally check in with you during the first few sessions to understand how the experience of teletherapy is going for you and potentially adjust their style and approach to ensure you are feeling heard, understood, challenged and empathized with while immersed in the digital experience.

How to Best Prepare for Teletherapy?

Here are a few factors to consider to prepare for your first teletherapy session:

·        Privacy: Decide on a quiet and comfortable space in your home for your appointments. Ensure that you communicate with other household members your need for privacy in that room during the appointment time. Unless you are doing couples or family therapy, you should be the only person in the room. This can be a challenge, especially with younger children in the home or with family members who may tend to hang around your space. Should these issues arise, a plan can be put in place between you and your clinician on how to best move forward.

·        Minimize Distractions: When creating the teletherapy environment, attempt to recreate the environment of the therapy office. Unless you are using your phone to connect to teletherapy, keep phones on silent and facedown, turn off TVs, music or any other source of distractions. 

·        Internet Connection: If you plan to use a desktop or laptop, consider connecting with an Ethernet cord for a stronger connection. A good Wi-Fi connection generally works well, yet it is more probable to experience interruptions.

·        Strategic Scheduling: Consider scheduling an appointment during a time of day you know is less busy in the home to increase the likelihood of having privacy and an uninterrupted session.

As long as privacy, eliminating distractions, and a stable internet connection are possible and prioritized, teletherapy can be effective and feel close to the experience of in-person therapy.

The Family First team is here to help you and we are fortunate to have the tools to continue working with individuals, couples, and families during these trying times. Call or email us to schedule a teletherapy appointment today.

516-804-1010

hello@familyfirstli.org

 

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