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What is Telemental Health?

What is Telemental Health? Telehealth, telemedicine, or telemental health, is a way for mental health and medical professionals to work with clients remotely. So, what can you expect from a telemental health session and is it a good fit for you?

The Basics:

Telehealth can be used for individual sessions, couple sessions, family sessions, and even sessions with people who don’t live in the same household.

Telehealth is often covered by insurance in the same way in office visits are.

Here at buildingblcoks, we use a Hipaa compliance onetime meeting link using a confidential portal. No need to download any apps. Just click the link at the time of your appointment and badabing badaboom, you’re ready to start healing.

The Pros:
Telehealth is such a unique and widely used medium for accessing mental health services for several reasons. To begin, it’s convenient. Several months back when I was seeing clients in the office, we’d both be driving anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes each way. So if your schedule is pretty hectic, especially if you’re trying to coordinate with a partner, children, in-laws, or anyone else who would be involved in your session- being able to cut out an hour or more of commute can be essential.

Because there is no commute, this also removes any obstacles related to transportation. Maybe you’re a student living in a city but want to access services outside of city limits, maybe driving gives you anxiety which ultimately prevents you from feeling safe and relaxed during a session,  or maybe you don’t have consistent access to a vehicle or a ride. These issues are unlikely to be present with telehealth sessions.

It’s is also a great option for people who are older or deal with physical impairments that make it extremely difficult to leave the house, drive to an appointment, get out of the vehicle, into the office, and then turn around and do it all over again.

Telehealth is an essential service for those of us who live in rural areas with limited access to local therapy offices.

Telehealth can be a good option for people dealing with agoraphobia, or a fear of leaving one’s home. While showering, getting dressed, and out of the house can be healing in itself for people dealing with issues like depression, these otherwise simple actions can become obstacles in and of themselves for getting the treatment you need. And even for people who don’t struggle with this, it’s hard to compete with the comfort of you own couch, snuggled up to a favorite pet, and at the perfect temperature for you. Remember, therapy usually works best if we’re calm, comfortable, and present in the moment.

While you can use telehealth with a therapist near you, you are also able to look at all of the therapists in your state that offer telehealth. That means you have a great variety of therapists to pick from, get access to a specialist, or just give you the peace of mind that you wont see your therapist at the grocery store.

And finally, why we’re using it now, it reduces the spread of illnesses of all kinds. So even when we’re on the other side of this, telehealth can be great if you’re immunocompromised, pregnant, or have any other issue that would make it imperative that you decrease your chance of infection.

The Cons:

Telehealth might not be the best fit for everyone, though. If you have unreliable or poor internet connection, if you are unable to get a quiet, confidential space away from roommates or family members, or you don’t have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer with video and audio connections, telehealth is going to be a difficult fit. Also, telehealth is not appropriate for clients who need intensive, inpatient treatment.

Pro-tips:
Use a computer or tablet, rather than a cell phone. Cell phones do work but holding up your phone and having it move all over the place can be tiresome for you and a bit distracting. Make sure that your light source is coming from in front of you, rather than behind you. Seeing your beautiful faces is part of the magic and science of therapy. If you’re doing individual therapy, get a pair of headphones with a mic. You might look like you’re working at a call center, but it can really help cut down on echo, ambient noise, and other audio issues. And finally, we have to remember that although we’re in our slippers at home, we’re still engaging in a special, intimate but professional experience. That means we have to treat our sessions just like we would if you were coming into the office. This means, we’d be and stay fully clothed, we would abstain from drinking alcohol or smoking during the session, we wouldn’t be driving, washing dishes, or shopping, and we would not take a trip to the bathroom. Getting close and joining is part of the process, and we appreciate being let into your inner worlds, we just have to remember that it’s still therapy.

 

By Savanah Kite MA

Ashley Moore

Ashley Moore

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, my goal is to help you explore what keeps you (and/or your partner/family) “stuck” and work toward creating new cycles of interaction. I’ve helped lots of couples and families find healthy solutions for a deeper connection and more satisfying relationships.

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