Teletherapy

There is no standardized term for teletherapy. You may also hear: Telehealth; telemental health; telecounseling; telemedicine; telepsychiatry; telepsychology; eTherapy; eCounseling; distance therapy; distance counseling; internet therapy.

Definition

Teletherapy is provided through a digital platform that provides secure, encrypted, audio-video conferencing to communicate with a client in real time.  This does not include nonsynchronous (not real time) texts, calls, digital chats, emails to and from counselors and their clients.

Teletherapy includes the practice of psychological health care delivery, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, referral to resources, education, and the transfer of medical and clinical data.

It is easy to get started working with me!

Once you schedule an initial session, I will electronically (securely) send you the disclosure statement, which includes information on teletherapy, for you to sign. I will also send you information on the platform that we will be using for our sessions. It is one of the top platforms utilized by mental health professionals. The platform itself is straight-forward, easy to navigate and HIPAA compliant. When I see that you have signed into the “waiting room,” I will begin the session at the appropriate time.

Disclosure Statement for Telehealth Services

I understand that I have the rights with respect to telehealth:

1. The laws that protect the confidentiality of my personal information also apply to telehealth. As such, I understand that the information disclosed by me during the course of my sessions is generally confidential. However, there are both mandatory and permissive exceptions to confidentiality, including, but not limited to, reporting child, elder, and dependent adult abuse; expressed threats of violence toward an ascertainable victim; and where I make my mental or emotional state an issue in a legal proceeding. I also understand that the dissemination of any personally identifiable images or information from the telehealth interaction to other entities shall not occur without my written consent.

2. I understand that I have the right to withhold or withdraw my consent to the use of telehealth in the course of my care at any time, without affecting my right to future care or treatment.

3. I understand that there are risks and consequences from telehealth, including, but not limited to, the possibility, despite reasonable efforts on the part of the counselor, that: The transmission of my personal information could be disrupted or distorted by technical failures, the transmission of my personal information could be interrupted by unauthorized persons, and/or the electronic storage of my personal information could be unintentionally lost or accessed by unauthorized persons. Shannon Mick utilizes secure, encrypted audio/video transmission software to deliver telehealth.

4. I understand that if my counselor believes I would be better served by another form of intervention (e.g., face-to-face services), I will be referred to a mental health professional associated with any form of psychotherapy, and that despite my efforts and the efforts of my counselor, my condition may not improve, and in some cases may even get worse.

5. I understand the alternatives to counseling through telehealth as they have been explained to me, and in choosing to participate in telehealth, I am agreeing to participate using video conferencing technology. I also understand that at my request or at the direction of my counselor, I may be directed to “face-to-face” psychotherapy.

6. I understand that I may expect the anticipated benefits such as improved access to care and more efficient evaluation and management from the use of telehealth in my care, but that no results can be guaranteed or assured.

7. I understand that others may also be present during the consultation other than my counselor in order to operate the video equipment. The above-mentioned people will all maintain confidentiality of the information obtained. I further understand that I will be informed of their presence in the consultation and thus will have the right to request the following: (1) omit specific details of my medical history that are personally sensitive to me, (2) ask non-clinical personnel to leave the telehealth room, and/or (3) terminate the consultation at any time.

8. I understand that my express consent is required to forward my personally identifiable information to a third party.

9. I understand that I have a right to access my medical information and copies of my medical records in accordance with the laws pertaining to the state in which I reside.

10. By signing this document, I agree that certain situations, including emergencies and crises, are inappropriate for audio-/video-/computer-based psychotherapy services. If I am in crisis or in an emergency, I should immediately call 911 or seek help from a hospital or crisis-oriented health care facility in my immediate area.

Benefits & Risks of Teletherapy

Benefits:

  • Saves time and the cost of transportation.
  • Teletherapy is at least comparable to in-person services.
  • Shown to be helpful in treating individuals, couples, families and groups for issues such as anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder.
  • Effective in treating addictions.
  • Is adaptable for different disabilities.
  • Creates opportunities for clients to find counselors who are competent in understanding their ethnicity and culture.
  • Can help people attend counseling sessions when normally they could not.
  • Busy professionals can access therapy during their non-working hours with greater ease.
  • Parents with no childcare or who have busy schedules can access therapy with greater ease.
  • Treatment can happen quicker in many cases.
  • Benefits those who live in a rural area or who are distant because they are serving in the military.
  • And more!

Risks:

  • Outcomes depend heavily on patient engagement. Research from the American Medical Association.
  • When telehealth is handled POORLY, clients could feel isolated, unmotivated, and disengaged from their provider’s and care. Research from the American Medical Association.
  • Technical difficulties or failures could disrupt service.
  • Breech of confidentiality or session interrupted by an unauthorized person or children present.
  • Breech of confidentiality where electronically stored personal information is unintentionally lost by the provider or is accessed by unauthorized persons.
  • That if the provider believes that the client would be better served by another form of intervention (e.g., face-to-face services), then the client would be referred to a mental health professional associated with any form of psychotherapy.
  • That despite the client’s efforts and the efforts of the provider, the client’s condition may not improve, and in some cases may get worse.
  • Video or sound glitches during therapy session.

Teletherapy is highly accessible and proven effective in treatment. There are a few risks, but some of those risks are similar to the risks while receiving face-to-face services. Teletherapy is more widely used than ever before and it is here to stay! Consider giving teletherapy a try if you feel that you could benefit from it. Contact a telemental health care provider in your state and ask them about their teletherapy services.

Be sure to ask me any questions regarding teletherapy.