Ways to make technology work for your relationships
Video and Phone Sessions
Life throws curve balls. At times, life is unexpected. What can be expected is that at some point everyone will face something difficult, painful and confusing. There are many benefits of talking through issues instead of keeping them bottled up or struggling alone. Having someone available who can help you process your thoughts and feelings and provide some guidance is truly valuable.
Yet sometimes the craziness of life doesn’t leave a lot of extra time to schedule things like therapy. This can even be more challenging for couples because now it is not just one person’s schedule. Between the pressures of work, home, family and commuting- the window of time for these appointments can be small. At this point, many individuals and couples will become discouraged and give up on looking for help.
I want to offer you hope here. Many of our expert therapists offer video and phone sessions (Online Couples/Individual Therapy). In fact, there is a growing field of professional therapists that are branching out to offer these services.
So, what is Online Couples/Individual Therapy?
Online couples/individual therapy, often referred to as Telehealth, is when a therapist or counselor provides psychological counseling and support over the internet through email, video conferencing, online chat, or a phone call. Every therapy group that offers online therapy uses some or all of these tools to support their clients. In terms of Telehealth, CICS therapists focus on video and phone sessions.
Benefits of Online Couples/Individual Therapy
As a therapist who has been utilizing Online couples/individual therapy for several years (both video and phone), I can tell you there are many benefits to having this as a tool. I can also share that even clients who were hesitant at first found the experience of video sessions very effective and similar to our in-person sessions. Yet you don’t have to take my word for it. Here are some of the benefits found in research of telehealth.
- It Opens Doors and Resources
Whether it’s people in rural or remote areas, physical limitations for clients, no transportation, time limitations, difficulty with child care, or a lack of specialists in the area, Online couples/individual therapy offers access to mental health information and services that many people could not access otherwise.
It can also help therapists continue to offer sessions when they face different circumstances. For example, earlier this year I hurt my right leg and couldn’t drive to the office. I was able to move all my sessions on line and no clients missed their appointments.
Since you will be attending telehealth appointments online in the comfort of your own home or private office, you can often schedule your therapy sessions for times that are the most convenient for you. When it comes to the specific commuting challenges of the Bay Area, Online couples/individual therapy can save you a lot of time battling traffic to and from the therapist office. If you don’t have to factor in commute time, it means you may have more availability in your week to schedule sessions.
- Makes Information More Accessible
The Internet makes mental health information more accessible. Sadly, there is still a stigma around therapy and mental health services. Some people may feel more comfortable meeting with someone online than going to an office. Online increases the anonymity some people may need to reach out for help.
- It Can Also Be an Educational Tool
Telehealth therapy can be an important tool to help people learn more about psychological health. Even if you feel like your mental well-being is strong, Online couples/individual therapy can help you become stronger. You can learn more about healthy behaviors and coping strategies that will lead to better psychological health. You can also receive more support around your relationship, which could increase connection, good communication and intimacy.
Potential Issues of Online Couples/Individual Therapy
Just like anything, Telehealth is not perfect. There are some challenges to consider.
- Online Couples/Individual Therapy Sometimes Lacks Important Information
With some of the tools that fall into the category of Online couples/individual therapy, such as messaging, email, and phone calls, therapists can’t see facial expressions, vocal signals, and body language. This is the main reason CICS therapists only do couples sessions online using video conferencing. These signals can often be quite telling and give the therapist a clearer picture of feelings, thoughts, interactions, and behaviors. It’s easier to tell these aspects using phone sessions when working with an individual.
- Some States Do Not Allow Out-of-State Providers
Many states do not allow out-of-state psychologists to provide services. In such cases, your provider would need to be licensed in both their home state as well as your home state. However, therapists can practice telehealth with clients in their own state, which can be a great option for those who live at a distance, are housebound, or who need access to conventional treatment options. In short, this means that you do not need to live in the Bay Area to work with one of our highly trained therapists, you just need to live in California.
- Concerns About Confidentiality, Privacy, and Unreliable Technology
Technology isn’t 100% reliable. There are times when internet issues affect the session. However, with internet speeds today, this is a rare occurrence. Also, keeping your personal information private is a major concern in psychotherapy, but online treatment adds a layer of complexity. Confidentiality is just as important in Online couples/individual therapy as it is in more traditional forms of treatment delivery. Since information is being transmitted online, the situation makes privacy leaks and hacks more of a concern. A therapist must take extra steps to use HIPAA compliant platforms to protect their client’s information.
- Limitations In Types Of Clients
Since online therapists are distant from the client, it’s potentially difficult to respond quickly and effectively if a crisis happens. A therapist must take measures to obtain local resources in the area they are working with clients. This is so they can help the client get more direct assistance if a client is experiencing suicidal thoughts or has suffered a personal tragedy.
Another limitation is working online with clients with serious psychiatric illnesses. These often require close and direct treatment.
What do you need?
The only thing you need is a quiet, private room, a good internet connection, and a phone, tablet or laptop.
For video sessions all CICS therapists use HIPAA complaint platforms. Once you schedule your therapist will provide you with the information you will need to join the session.
If you are interested in Online couples/individual therapy, please fill out the contact form for a free consultation.