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What is teletherapy?

What is teletherapy?

  • October 13, 2022
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Teletherapy is any remote therapy that uses technology to help the therapist and client communicate. Some examples of teletherapy include:

  • doing therapy sessions over the phone
  • having a group chat for group therapy
  • using videoconferencing for individual, couples, or group therapy
  • receiving therapy via email or instant messenger
  • using apps that connect clients to therapists and offer therapy within the app

Benefits of teletherapy 

Teletherapy provides a range of benefits in comparison with traditional therapy.

For therapy clients

Most research suggests that teletherapy can be as effective as in-person therapy. The benefits of seeking research-supported teletherapy with a licensed therapist include:

  • Greater access to careTrusted Source: Some people are unable to use traditional therapy due to physical disabilities, geographic location, or scheduling issues.
  • Lower costsTrusted Source: Teletherapy may help clients save money on treatment. Clients are also likely to incur fewer therapy-associated expenses when they do not have to travel to receive treatment or pay for child care.
  • High satisfaction: Users of quality teletherapy report high satisfaction with treatment.
  • More privacy: People who choose teletherapy do not have to sit in busy waiting rooms but can seek treatment in the privacy of their own homes. For some, this alleviates privacy concerns.
  • Better public health: The COVID-19 health crisis demonstrates that the ability to seek medical care at home can slow the spread of illness and protect vulnerable populations. Teletherapy allows people to get mental health treatment at home without risking the spread of infection during epidemics and pandemics.

For therapists

Some therapists may find that teletherapy suits their personal style and allows them to meet their practice goals. Some benefits include:

  • Reduced overheads: Maintaining an office can be expensive. Therapists who switch to a telehealth-only model can eliminate many of their overheads. Those who offer part-time teletherapy may be able to rent office space on just a few days of the week, lowering costs.
  • The ability to reach more clients: Telehealth may improve access to therapyTrusted Source for people with disabilities, financial worries, transportation difficulties, and other barriers. This improved access enables therapists to help more people. Widening their potential consumer base can help therapists earn more money.
  • A shorter commute: A therapist who exclusively offers teletherapy may be able to support clients from home, reducing or eliminating their commute.

How a teletherapy session works

While it is possible to do teletherapy via email or phone, contemporary telemental health sessions typically use video chat.

The therapeutic process is similar to in-person therapy. It usually begins with a few initial sessions during which the therapist and client get to know one another and discuss treatment goals. After that, the therapist may dig more deeply into the client’s issues, make recommendations for behavioral changes, and encourage the client to reflect on their emotions.

The therapist may ask the client to take steps to ensure confidentiality. These might include:

  • logging on from a private network
  • keeping their computer locked to prevent others from viewing the session
  • accessing therapy via an encrypted therapy platform

Clients should also ask their therapists what specific steps they take to protect client confidentiality and prevent third parties from viewing sessions or session notes.

Conclusion    

Teletherapy is an ideal option for people who find it difficult to access therapy in person. It is also an excellent option for slowing the spread of illness, for example, during the COVID-19 pandemic or in the flu and cold season.

As with other health services, quality treatment gets better results. A person should work with their therapist to devise an effective course of treatment that offers the most benefits.

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