The psychologists and other psychotherapists at Medical Psychology Associates are among a growing number of health service providers who are seeing clients via video teleconferencing. This practice has been in place for almost 20 years to serve patients in rural areas or patients with health or mobility issues. However, during the last decade, and especially now during the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, more psychologists have begun offering telehealth services.
Our clinic is committed to using telehealth to provide seamless access to mental health care during the Covid-19 crisis. Our clinicians are aware of the mental health impact of this crisis and have the knowledge and skills to provide competent care. Telehealth provides you the opportunity to access mental health care if you are social distancing, struggling with health or mobility problems, or are in a remote area in which mental health services are not readily available. Most insurance companies are now covering telehealth services with the same benefits they would otherwise apply to an in-office visit.
Our psychotherapists are trained in the use of telehealth practices to ensure that the highest standards of ethical and effective practices are delivered, and well documented protocols are followed. The telehealth video conferencing platform is easy and convenient to use and requires no downloads or accounts. Clients need only have a device with a camera and a microphone. All data is encrypted, your sessions are confidential, and none of your information is stored. We adhere to HIPAA, HITECH, and American Telemedicine Association data privacy requirements. We also provide an online informed consent form and checklist to prepare and guide clients in the appropriate and most effective use of telehealth services.
Telehealth offers a range of benefits for both therapists and their clients. It can be a powerful tool that makes mental health care easier and more convenient to access and provide. Telehealth benefits include:
- Convenience. Online therapy can take less time away from the office or your workday or worry about traffic or weather. No need to travel miles to meet with your therapist. Log in to your computer and the session can happen wherever you are comfortable.
- Comfort and privacy in your own setting. For many people it can seem more comfortable or easier than talking to someone in person, especially when revealing personal or private information.
- Greater flexibility in scheduling visits.
- Therapy via telehealth has been shown to be equally as effective as in-person therapy, especially when it comes to general anxiety, depression, life transitions and family dynamics.
- Online therapy can provide access to those who can’t get to an office. In some rural communities, the nearest psychologist office may be an hour or two drive away. Some people with chronic illnesses or disabilities may not be able to drive or easily able to leave their home. In these situations, online therapy may be their only option for help.
- Maintain continuity of services with your therapist while away from home or after moving to a location that does not enable travel to an office. Many patients prefer to continue therapy with their current therapist rather than find a new therapist and begin a brand-new relationship. Most therapists do not want to abandon their patient in these situations.
How it works
Teletherapy sessions work much like the in-person variety. All you need on your end is a secure internet connection and a computer, tablet or phone that has a camera. You make an appointment in advance with your therapist, but instead of traveling to an office, you sign on to your computer and receive a HIPAA-secure link to your email to gain access to the video conference. You will check in and your provider will start the call when they are ready.
Prior to your first telehealth visit, you will be sent an “Informed Consent Checklist for Telepsychological Services” form. We will review this with you at the outset of the initial session. This consent form informs you about various important issues and practices that will make your online session useful and safe.