Telehealth: How does Online Therapy & Counseling Work?
Do you want to get counseling but have limited options for therapy in your area?
Or maybe you’re just really busy and can’t get away?
Have you thought about online counseling but wonder if it really works?
Online therapy (sometimes called Telehealth counseling) may seem like a great idea, but you may be wondering how it works. It’s common to be skeptical of new things, and seeing an online psychologist for something like marriage counseling or teenage depression is probably new to you and your family. After all, while it may seem daunting to talk to a therapist you have just met in person, it may seem even more strange to have such a personal exchange through technology. However, the process is really quite simple, and it offers a great deal of flexibility.
Online Therapy is Similar to Traditional Therapy
In many ways, telehealth is much the same as seeing a therapist in person. You will spend your first session getting to know your therapist, and them you. You will spend this time also working out what your goals for therapy are, why you are seeking therapy, and how you feel the therapist can help you. At Compass Counseling, there is a consultation process to determine if your individual situation is appropriate for our online services.
After that initial session, additional sessions will be spent working on the goals you outlined in your first session. The therapist may have a variety of methods for reaching those goals. Not every method or concept works for every person. You may have some trial and error throughout your counseling experience, this is the same in online counseling.
Although counseling is conducted through technology rather than in person, sessions will hold much of the same structure. You will have a set amount of time, usually 30-60 minutes, to work with your therapist during each online session. How frequently you have sessions is entirely up to you, although your therapist will offer clinical suggestions based on your goals for therapy.
Online Counseling Methods
There are several methods for using telehealth with counseling. The most common way that people consider using telehealth is to talk to a therapist through a live real-time (synchronous) video application, so that you can see and hear each other as though you are in the same room. This is how we typically use telehealth counseling at Compass Counseling. We use Spruce Health, a secure app for confidentiality of our clients and therapists.
While this is our preferred and most common telehealth method at Compass Counseling, it is not the only option. Telehealth options can also include email, phone call and chat. If you are having a hard time finding a truly confidential location to be in during your session where you could be overheard, email and chat sessions give you a different level of privacy. In addition, sessions that require writing are sometimes easier for people to open up, because some people simply state what is on their mind better through writing than speech. Limits to confidentiality & safety plans would need to be addressed by your licensed therapists who has specific training in telehealth therapy.
The Technology Involved in Online Therapy
There are a number of ways that you can participate in online therapy. You can use almost any device, PC, Mac, laptop or notebook, tablet, or smartphone. At Compass Counseling we work within a specified application or set of applications. The app we use can be used on multiple devices and is secure. We also typically recommend having a good pair of headphones or earbuds to increase the level of privacy of your session, the type of earbuds with a microphone typically work best. When you start online counseling, your therapist will talk with you about the app we use and how to use it on your device.
In the end, online therapy is really not much different from traditional counseling. The only real difference is that you are not in the same room with the therapist. How therapy works, how sessions are run, and the relationship you can build with your therapist all remain the same with telehealth services. If you can be comfortable with the remoteness of the sessions, online therapy is a valid option.
Privacy and Online Counseling
One advantage of seeing a therapist online is that nobody will see you walking into a counseling center. You also don’t have to worry about seeing someone you know in the counseling office waiting room. In these ways, you have more privacy when participating in telehealth therapy. Some people do wonder though, “Is online counseling really secure and private?” We want to assure you that at Compass Counseling we use a HIPPA secure platform for our online video counseling. Therefore, your privacy is protected.
What to Look for In an Online Therapist
When starting Telehealth therapy, you look for many of the same things as you would if you were attending in person counseling. You want to find a therapist you are comfortable with and feel like you can trust. You also want someone who is comfortable treating the specific issue bringing you to therapy. If you are seeking help for depression, you want to know that your online therapist specializes in depression. If you and your spouse are fighting, you might be looking for an experienced online marriage counselor. One advantage to starting online counseling and therapy with Compass is that we have therapists with a wide range of specialties and experiences.
Begin Online Therapy in Kentucky
Compass Counseling offers counseling to anyone in the state of Kentucky. Whether you live locally (Paducah or Owensboro, KY) and are just too busy to come into our office or live in a rural area and can’t get to a counseling office at all, our online counseling are a convenient option. If you are interested in learning beginning e-counseling with Compass Counseling, please call our Paducah location at 270-777-4490. If you’d prefer, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get you set up with a licensed psychologist or therapist who is trained in tele-mental health such as our clinic president, Katie Englert, MAE, LPCC, NCC. Compass Counseling offers online mental health services for men, women, teenagers and even couples counseling.
Learn More About Online Counseling
Are you interested but still have questions about our Telehealth/Online Therapy services?