What is teletherapy?
The term, “teletherapy,” more broadly encompasses a variety of communication techniques including telephone, email, text, and remote monitoring. I narrowly define teletherapy as the provision of therapeutic services via real-time, interactive video-conference. To ensure the utmost privacy and protection, I deliver teletherapy services through Breakthrough.com. To view my Breakthrough teletherapy profile, click here.
How is teletherapy different than other therapy options?
Teletherapy provides a measure of convenience that circumvents many obstacles to receiving therapy. With teletherapy, you can receive therapeutic support from the comfort of your own home, on the go, or while traveling. You also have increased access to qualified professionals that may not be in close proximity. Additionally, individuals with severe depression or social anxiety significantly benefit from this delivery method.
How effective is teletherapy?
A variety of services, ranging from initial assessment/diagnosis, medication management, case management, to multiple psychotherapy modalities have been studied in telemedicine-format and are considered to be essentially equivalent to the same services delivered face-to-face. The empirical base of tele-mental health consistently shows that diagnostic accuracy and treatment efficacy is equivalent to face-to-face for most populations and settings.
What would be the procedure for initiating teletherapy sessions?
In order to receive teletherapy services, please contact me directly and we can talk about if it would be a good fit for you. Whether you are interested in short-term or ongoing treatment, we will always start the same way:
- A free 30 minute phone consultation to briefly discuss your concerns and to ask any questions you might have.
- If we find it’s a good match, we will meet in person for a 60 minute session, and I will conduct an in-depth history and assessment of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual factors impacting your decision to seek help. (This may involve taking minimal paper work home to complete on your own time.)
- For the next session or two, we will review your assessment and develop a mutually agreed upon treatment plan. At this point, we would determine if you would like to start with short-term treatment (typically, anywhere between an 12-16 week commitment), or are ready to commit to an ongoing-process.
What would we do in a teletherapy session?
While every individual’s treatment plan will be unique to that person, I do have a number of existing directives and protocols specific to certain problem areas, such as sexual trauma, attachment disturbances, depression, anxiety, addiction issues, and complicated grief. In the treatment planning process, we may review a few of these together and discuss which ones resonate with you. I find this helps keep clients motivated for the duration of their treatment. Potential treatment directives may include but would not be limited to:
- Art making with a focus on process
- Movement or bodily activation such as focusing on breath or “embodying” your artwork
- Guided visualization exercises
- Personalized spiritual practices
- Writing exercises and keeping a journal
With teletherapy services, the client would be responsible for purchasing any necessary materials and art supplies. Please see the “Cost” page for further information.
What are the privacy risks?
HIPAA/HITECH is not specific in its privacy requirements for interactive video conferencing, but clinicians adopting the practice of telemedicine or tele-behavioral health are urged to confirm and document that the video-conference systems used for patient care provide for data security and encryption, and are sufficiently robust to prevent unauthorized intrusion into the patient care environment. Encryptions standards such as AES, providing 128 bit key size, are generally considered the minimum for healthcare applications of video-conference.
I provide teletherapy services through Breakthrough, in order to conform to proper data security measures and encryption, as opposed to Skype or Facetime, which are not as strictly monitored or encoded.
What would be the technical requirements for teletherapy?
In order to receive teletherapy services, please contact me directly and we can talk about if it would be a good fit for you. The process would involve signing up with Breakthrough, and familiarizing yourself with their website. Additionally, your computer would have to meet the following requirements:
- Broadband service at Practitioner and Client location – at least 1MB/s download and upload speed. Dial up, satellite or 3G service are not acceptable.
- Broadband not over-utilized for other uses while video call in progress
- Newer computer – no older than 4 years old with at least 4 GB of memory – with embedded or attached HD webcam and high quality microphone