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Couch Conversations: How Does Teletherapy Work?



Did you know that teletherapy existed before this recent health pandemic? Online therapy, video therapy or teletherapy are all ways of describing therapy that is conducted virtually, with you in one location and your therapist in another location. The use of teletherapy has been a very helpful tool recently to continue to provide care and psychological services to clients since a majority of people have not been able to meet face-to-face due to recent health concerns. But while it may seem like a very recent adaptation to use teletherapy to conduct sessions with your therapist, many therapists have been using teletherapy for a long time.

Anybody who has had a therapist call them to check in, share resources, and at times conduct therapy sessions with them over the phone has essentially engaged in some form of teletherapy. There is a lot of utility in being able to communicate with your therapist when there is time or space separating the two of you. Teletherapy has found a way of bridging that gap between therapist and client in between sessions, which is why it makes sense that using technology as a means of communication has been used by therapists for as long as the technology has existed.

Teletherapy can be helpful when you need to speak with your therapist in between sessions or perhaps unexpectedly schedule a session with your therapist over the phone. Teletherapy has been an important tool for therapists in the past and will only continue to play a big role in the lives of providers and clients moving forward from this health pandemic.

More recently, technology has advanced in different ways to change teletherapy from just phone sessions to video sessions as well. Through video therapy, therapists have been able to connect with their clients even more and visually see each other which is an important component of therapy. However, when it comes to the use of technology to communicate, different people have varied preferences and might engage in sessions over the phone, over a computer screen or perhaps over text which are all forms of teletherapy communication. Speaking with your therapist about which options are available to you and your own preferences of teletherapy communication are very important in creating a positive experience over online therapy interactions.

These days, people are living in a world where so many things are out of their control. There are many unknowns and it has become harder to plan or be able to make decisions without knowing how these choices will impact their future. There are many uncertainties in life right now, but knowing that therapy could be an option when so many other things seem like they are not, could provide some comfort and help people feel empowered to make their own decisions.

At Couch Conversations Psychotherapy and Counseling, we want you to know that teletherapy options are available for you. If you think that you might need services but do not know how and where to access the care, you have options. While some people are still getting used to the option of teletherapy as a form of communication with their therapist, it is a powerful option and one that can make you feel like you have a choice in your treatment during this difficult time. After all, there must be some reasons why teletherapy has been around in one form or another for so long.

First, online therapy is convenient. Imagine you have a busy work schedule, or have multiple responsibilities taking care of a family and your home, or perhaps you are a student and have long days at school with classes and extracurricular activities. With busy life schedules, it’s often hard to find the time to focus on yourself and utilize the benefits of therapy to improve your symptoms and get closer to who you want to be in life.

If you’re like most people, you’re likely experiencing the hustle and bustle of a busy and hectic life and may not necessarily have the time to meet your therapist in person. Considering factors like long commutes, busy wait times, rush hour, and availability that matches that of your therapist’s, it’s no wonder that online therapy is so convenient. Imagine being able to have a session from the comfort of your couch at home while still meeting your daily life commitments. Not only is it convenient and easy to do, but you are also acknowledging the importance of giving yourself that time and space to focus on yourself and prioritize your needs as well.

But teletherapy is not just convenient, it is also a solution for many people who may not otherwise have had access to therapy sessions. Some people may not have access to therapy services because they cannot drive, have certain disabilities preventing them from accessing care, or are unable to get to sessions within certain office hours. Teletherapy could be the answer for people who are willing to get care but have other barriers and obstacles in the way preventing them from getting the care they need and deserve.

Teletherapy has been a highly utilized option during our recent health pandemic. People who are interested in alleviating their symptoms, improving their relationships with others, learning to cope with daily life stressors, and continuing on the journey of being the best version of themselves have taken advantage of opportunities to use teletherapy during this time instead of waiting to focus on these issues in the future.

Some people hold fear and anxiety about this health pandemic and are concerned about entering commonly used office spaces or other areas at this time. Luckily, teletherapy allows people to feel safe and comfortable in their own home while still being able to access the same care they would get in person with their therapist. Teletherapy over the phone in the past was used as a convenient means of communication with your therapist. Currently, the utility of teletherapy is arguably more important than it was before; not only does it help improve the safety of health conditions during this pandemic, it also continues to virtually provide a space for treatment and care.

Understandably, some people may also be concerned about privacy issues when it comes to teletherapy options. These days, it is hard to guarantee that complete privacy can be accomplished without risk of a security breach. However, many platforms now exist that take extra precautions knowing the nature of confidentiality and have been created specifically for client and provider contact. These platforms try to reduce risk as much as possible and can be used securely to engage in therapy online.

At Couch Conversations Psychotherapy and Counseling, we use HIPAA-compliant and secure platforms to provide our services via teletherapy. For us, it is important to mitigate any security risk and help our clients feel comfortable when they use any teletherapy platform to communicate with their therapist. Our clients need very little experience and know-how with technology to be able to access care via teletherapy. And the best part is that these platforms are free to use, and often do not require a log-in or account for our clients which makes it easy and simple to get the services virtually.

Interested in giving teletherapy a try? Our Couch Conversations psychotherapists will evaluate whether or not teletherapy could be the right option for you during a free initial consultation and have a discussion with you about your teletherapy options. If our therapists believe that you would be a good fit for teletherapy, some of the considerations for you to think about include: whether or not you have access to a secure and private space to conduct the sessions, access to technology such as a phone, tablet or computer to participate in the sessions, the ability to call your therapist over the phone if the video technology platform fails, and any other questions you may have about the benefits and risks associated with teletherapy.

Keep in mind that while teletherapy may not feel exactly the same as in-person sessions, your therapist is still providing you with the same care, treatment and interventions that would occur during in-person sessions. Sometimes it takes people a few video sessions to be comfortable with the new format, especially if they were used to in-person sessions in the past. Generally though, most people do believe that teletherapy sessions are very similar to in-person sessions and feel that it is a great way to stay connected and get the care they need. Feel free to talk to your Couch Conversations psychotherapist about any concerns you may have about teletherapy and get your questions answered.

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Online therapy options available to residents in California.

*Please note that the material on this website is for informational and/or educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional psychological services. Use of this website does not constitute a professional working relationship. We do not provide any emergency services. If you are experiencing a psychiatric emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room and request a psychiatric evaluation.

© 2020 by Couch Conversations Psychotherapy and Counseling, Inc.