What is Online Counseling?
It can be difficult to make it into the therapy office on a regular basis, whether it’s because you live far away, your busy at home or at the office, your health makes it difficult for you to leave home, bad weather, or some other reason.
Many people who live in rural areas might have a difficult time finding a qualified psychologist who can provide the mental health treatment they need. Also, if you are looking for treatement for a speciality area, like adjusting to a chronic illness, pain, insomnia, or for a mental health provider who is willing to incorporate spirituality or a Christian perspective in therapy, if can be hard to find someone local to you who has that type of specialty training.
At Legacy Counseling Service in Tulsa, Oklahoma, counseling is provided face to face as well as online through a HIPAA compliant platform (kind of like using Skype, but it has much higher security standards for privacy). Online therapy allows client’s the opportunity to receive the same compassionate, and results-oriented treatment that they would if they were able to come to the office for counseling.
There are many types of telepsychology services, but online therapy is essentially using a video-internet service to connect you with a psychologist for the purposes of treatment. If you are new to using telepsychology services, here is some basic information from the American Psychological Association and from one of my blog posts that you can read over to check a providers licensure status. Many sites offer online therapy, but not all online providers are actually trained and licensed mental health providers, so make sure you read that blog post so you can be informed.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
Research has shown that, for most problems, online therapy is just as effective as face-to-face therapy, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, adjusting to illness/injury, coping with chronic pain, or providing spiritual based therapy. However, online therapy is not for everyone. If online therapy is of interest to you, we will talk about whether it’s a good fit and discuss strategies to make your online therapy most effective. If it’s not a good option for you, we can discuss alternative ways of getting help.
Does Insurance Pay for Online Counseling (also known as Telehealth or Telemedicine)?
Many insurance companies now recognize the value, and effectiveness, of a trained psychologist or therapist providing treatment through online therapy and do cover these services. Still, it’s important for you to check with your insurance company to confirm that they will, indeed, cover (or provide out-of-network reimbursement) counseling services offerd by a licensed mental health provider.
How Can I Make The Most of Online Counseling?
A trained psychologist or therapist will use the same clinical techniques when providing therapy online as he/she does when working with someone face-to-face. However, as the client, you might need to prepare a bit so that you are comfortable, have a private space at home (or at work), and are not distracted. This blog post will help you think about what you need to do prepare for your online therapy session.
What Can I Expect When I Start Online Therapy?
Whether you are getting treatment with me through face-to-face or online therapy, I pride myself with providing evidence-based therapy that is tailored to your specific needs and preferences. After we determine if online therapy is a good fit for you, I will tell you how to access the secure video platform that I use for online counseling and you will be able to access my online waiting room. At the beginning of each online counseling session, I will confirm your physical location so that I can help you get emergency help if needed (e.g., if you have a health events such as a diabetic attack, cardiac arrest, or are having serious thoughts of harming yourself or someone else), and then we will proceed with the therapy session. It’s possible that video services may be interrupted due to poor internet connection or some other technical problem, in which case we would finish our session by phone or reschedule the remainder of the session for another time during the week. Online therapy sessions are the same price as face-to-face therapy sessions.