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Before You Choose Virtual Therapy, Here’s What You Need to Know.

Learn about issues to consider when contemplating online counselling and discover more resources to become an educated consumer of telepsychology services.

The promises of many new tools and technologies that wish to transfer psychotherapy out of the therapist’s office and into any area you are connected to the Internet are that you can have quick and affordable access to a therapist with the click of a mouse or the touch of an app. Many individuals who are comfortable using the Internet and seeking assistance may find it useful to use the Web.

But, before you join up, log in, and begin speaking, there are a few things you should know about telepsychology.

Telepsychology is a term used by psychologists to describe any treatment given by telecommunication equipment or devices. It may be referred to as Web therapy, phone therapy, text therapy, or Virtual Therapy. When you communicate with a psychologist through a website, phone, or mobile app, you may be utilising telepsychology services.

Technology may help to change how individuals get psychotherapy or engage with a psychologist. Telepsychology and telehealth are being studied by researchers to see how well they function, particularly when compared to in-person, in-office psychotherapy sessions. However, research, like technology, is still in its early stages, and there is much that science does not yet understand.

Before joining up for any services that are only available online or by phone, there are a few things to think about.

Why do individuals like Web therapy?

Web therapy has a lot of potential and provides advantages over in-person psychotherapy.

It may be useful. Virtual counselling allows you to spend less time away from the workplace, your workday, and traffic. There is no need to drive long distances to see your psychologist. Simply dial a phone or connect in to a website, and the session may take place wherever you feel most comfortable.

It may seem to be less costly than conventional in-person counselling at times. Some applications may offer pricing that allows you to use the app indefinitely for a weekly or monthly charge. Alternatively, the Virtual session may seem to be substantially less expensive than in-office appointments. This might be useful if you do not want to use your health insurance for psychotherapy. The next section goes over insurance and internet treatment in further detail.

Online communication is incredibly convenient for many individuals, particularly younger folks or those who use technology often. More individuals are communicating by email, webinars, and text messaging, which might seem more comfortable or simpler than chatting to someone in person, particularly when disclosing sensitive or private information.

It may give access to folks who are unable to visit an office. The closest psychologist office may be an hour or two drive away in certain remote places. Some persons with chronic diseases or impairments may be unable to drive or leave their house comfortably. In many cases, web- or phone-based treatment may be their sole choice for assistance.

What you should consider carefully while considering web-based treatment

Despite the potential advantages, psychologists warn that Web-therapy may not be the ideal alternative for everyone or every circumstance that requires expert assistance. Before you join up, consider or ask the following questions:

Is this the proper tool for the job? The study hasn’t demonstrated that online or text-based treatment is helpful for everyone in every scenario. Some websites promise to provide treatment, however, such claims may be misleading or incorrect. People behind the applications, for example, may not be certified or trained to conduct treatment.

Is the therapist certified? You are protected by licencing. In most jurisdictions, the terms therapist and psychotherapist are not legally protected, which means that anybody may claim to be a therapist and perform services that look to be therapy. It is not always obvious that you are getting evidence-based treatment.

All psychologists and other professional health practitioners in the United States are required to be licenced by the state in which they practise. Licensure rules safeguard you by ensuring that only individuals who have been trained and certified to practise are granted a licence. It also assures that you have redress if your therapy is flawed. Before you sign up for any Web services, check out who you’re dealing with, whether or not he or she has a licence, where the licence is stored, and the licence number. Most states provide a searchable online database of professions licenced in their jurisdiction.

Is the psychologist licenced in your state? Each state grants licences based on its own laws and standards, just as each state chooses what citizens must know to get a driver’s licence. However, unlike driver’s licences, which enable you to legally drive in all states, a health care professional is only allowed to deliver services in the state in which they are licenced. The provider must be licenced in the jurisdiction in which you are situated, which may be difficult to determine if you don’t know where he or she is physically located.

Is the website or app safe? Will the information I supply be kept private? Psychotherapy works in part because psychologists provide clients with a secure, confidential environment in which they may discuss highly personal and often challenging memories, ideas, or feelings. Except in a few cases, what occurs and is said in a therapy office remains private. The site or app you use should be HIPAA-compliant and should be able to authenticate your and your therapist’s identities.

How are you going to pay for the service? Many insurance companies cover treatment for mental health and drug addiction issues, including in-person psychotherapy. If you see a psychologist in her office, your insurance may cover the majority or all of the charge, depending on whether you have a deductible or a co-pay. Psychologists will often present you with an invoice to submit to your insurance provider for payment. However, most insurance companies do not cover or reimburse for internet counselling or web therapy services. Check with your insurance carrier beforehand if you want to get paid. Otherwise, be prepared to cover the whole amount yourself.

More psychologists are investigating internet sites and applications, and more patients want to use them. Some technology tools, according to research, may aid when used in combination with in-office treatment.

Text messages are useful for fast check-ins or reminders for many psychologists and patients. Some applications may assist in tracking and logging emotions or thoughts. When a patient is on vacation or unable to attend a regular session, web-conferencing and real-time streaming may provide continuity.

In other circumstances, Web-conferencing or telephone treatment seems to be a feasible choice on its own for some individuals. However, based on current research and technology, mobile applications and text messaging are best utilised as a supplement to in-person psychotherapy.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 38(4), 196-205.

Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26.2-4: 109-160.

Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, Washington, D.C.

The American Journal of Psychiatry. 166(11), 1298-1299.

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