What is Tele-Health therapy?
Tele-Health therapy is any remote therapy that uses technology to help the therapist and client communicate. Some examples of teletherapy include:
- using videoconferencing for individual, couples, or group therapy
- doing therapy sessions over the phone
- having a group therapy over a web-based platform
- receiving therapy via email or instant messenger
- using apps that connect clients to therapists and offer therapy within the app
Each one provides an individual with a different experience. Tele-health therapy is delivered via the internet using any HIPAA compliant platforms.
How a Teletherapy Session Works
While it is possible to do tele-health therapy via email or phone, contemporary tele-health therapy typically use video conferencing.
The therapeutic process is similar to in-person therapy. It usually begins with an initial session during which the therapist and client get to know one another and discuss treatment goals. After that, the therapist and client spend sessions uncovering or managing the issues. The therapist makes recommendations for behavioral changes and encourages the client to reflect on their emotions, issues, and other aspects that may need to change.
The therapist may ask the client to take steps to ensure confidentiality. These might include:
- logging on from a private computer or personal phone
- keeping their computer/phone locked to prevent others from viewing the session
- finding a private space such as a secluded room, office or your car
- purchasing a sound machine to put outside of room during sessions
Clients should also ask their therapists what specific steps they can take to protect client confidentiality and prevent third parties from viewing sessions or session notes.
We also know that technology and online services can have problems and interruptions that can occur. Our therapists will speak with the client in order to create a plan for what to do when interruptions happen. This is a required consideration by regulations in California for Tele-health therapy.
Effectiveness of Online Therapy
A number of studies have shown the effectiveness of tele-health therapy. These studies have shown that tele-health therapy can be a great option and can even be done as an add on to face to face therapy.
In-office therapy is shown to be a preferred option for most. However, tele-health therapy is a positive alternative and with the pandemic, it is a preferred option at this time.
Tele-health therapy can help with a wide range of conditions and issues, including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, trauma, and chronic stress.
Emerging research suggests that teletherapy can treat most issues. For example, a 2010 analysis1 suggests that distance-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)2 for depression may be just as effective as in-person treatment.