If you’ve been exploring your options for therapy but prefer the comfort of your home, telecounseling is your best option.
The Basics Of Telecounseling – How It Works
A lot of independent therapists offer telecounseling through Skype and other online video chat platforms. At Pathways to Change, we use a HIPAA compliant video service called Thera-Link to ensure your privacy and confidentiality.
Telecounseling works in the same basic way that therapy works.
You’ll connect with a therapist, and have regular sessions over video chat to discuss your mental health, the struggles you’re experiencing, and anything else you would talk about with a therapist in person.
Is Telecounseling As Helpful As In-Person Therapy? Studying The Benefits
So, is telecounseling as helpful as in-person therapy?
One study showed that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for bulimia nervosa that was done over video chat was just as effective as CBT that was delivered in person.
Another study in 2014 showed that, in teens with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), counseling over the phone was just as effective as in-person counseling. However, the sample size for this study was quite small.
Further, a study done in South Carolina found that veterans suffering from PTSD who received treatment via videoconferencing had similar positive outcomes, compared to those who got treatment in person.
For now, the results seem to indicate that telecounseling can be just as effective as in-person therapy. However, this depends on your mental health, your personal situation, and your preferences for care.
Also, telecounseling is a very good option for anyone who is already seeing a therapist in-person, but cannot make every appointment in-person.
What Should I Think About Before I Choose Telecounseling?
If you are thinking about telecounseling or teletherapy, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you make your decision.
Find a licensed therapist – First and foremost, you will need to make sure that your therapist is fully licensed in your state. Just because you’ll be getting therapy online doesn’t mean that you should settle for anything less than a fully-certified, licensed professional therapist. Consider the qualifications of your therapist while you’re thinking about telecounseling. I provide telecounseling for both Georgia and Indiana.
Consider your health insurance – In-person therapy is almost always covered by health insurance for mental health disorders, substance abuse, and other such mental health conditions. Your insurance will typically pay for most or all of your treatment. In contrast, telecounseling and teletherapy may or may not be covered by insurance companies. You may have to pay the full cost yourself. Where I am a provider, insurance companies are now accepting claims from those who have had online counseling. Double-check with your insurance company to see if they cover telecounseling with your therapist. If not, it could actually be cheaper to see a therapist in-person.
Think about your personal preferences – Do you feel more comfortable opening up and discussing your emotions and your life with a counselor via video chat from the comfort of your home? If so, telecounseling is definitely right for you. But for some, it’s easier to truly open up in person. It may be worth trying both telecounseling and in-person therapy to see which one will be a better fit for your needs.
Just like in-person therapy, it’s very important to choose a therapist who can work with you to address your specific mental health issues and who understands your lived experience. So do your research, and make sure you work with a qualified professional.
Telecounseling Can Work – But It Might Not Be Right For Everyone!
Telecounseling does seem to hold a lot of promise, particularly for patients who have trouble making the time to see a therapist in person. In the future, it’s highly likely that this industry will quickly grow, along with other areas of telemedicine, especially during COVID-19 stay at home orders.
At Pathways to Change, I am ready to provide you with the counseling and therapy you need. Contact me today to schedule a telecounseling or in-office appointment.