To me as a mental health clinician that offers virtual services, the benefits are obvious. I have the luxury of seeing how virtual therapy benefits people every day. This topic often comes up when I share with people what I do for a living. I often get questions or hear comments like, “Isn’t online therapy awkward and impersonal?” “It's not as effective, don’t you have to be face to face, to really connect?” “How do you know it’s private and meets privacy requirements?” I have searched the internet, and polled fellow peers and friends regarding their beliefs and attitudes toward teletherapy. I have addressed the most common misconceptions in this blog.
Mental Health: Myths & Facts
Misconception: Online mental health therapy is not as effective as in person sessions.
Reality: According to the research, online sessions are just as effective as those conducted in person. According to Forbes.com, online therapy, “Its arguable teletherapy provides even greater patient benefit than in-person therapy. Teletherapy also allows providers to use a full range of treatment modalities — one-to-one therapy sessions, CBT exercises, mindfulness techniques, online peer groups, and mobile text support.” Teletherapy can be a good choice for those that live in remote areas and are limited to services offered in their area. Often times teletherapy offers a expanded hours, which allows access to more people. Texas Online Counseling offers sessions 7 days a week, with morning, afternoon, and evening appointments.
Misconception: Insurance does not offer payment for teletherapy.
Reality: Insurance does pay for teletherapy. At Texas Online Counseling, our licensed staff, accepts most major insurances. Like in-person providers, tele-providers must meet all the requirements set forth by the insurance company, including security measures for virtual services.
Misconception: Teletherapy is not private and secure.
Reality: Ethically and legally all therapy providers must comply with HIPAA, state and federal laws regarding security. All the platforms utilized by Texas Online Counseling not only are they HIPAA compliant but have added layers of security and encryption.
Misconception: You won’t get quality care from teletherapies.
Reality: All persons licensed to provide mental health therapy is required to complete a minimum of amount of training, per licensing renewal cycle. Each licensing type has a board that oversees all training requirements are met prior to renewal approval. In addition, depending on the type of therapy provided, for example, EMDR or CPT, requires extensive specialized training and certifications. In the state of Texas all licensed providers hold at least a master’s degree and have completed a 3000-hour internship. Also, it is common that therapists that provide teletherapy also practice in clinics and hospitals in the community they live in. Texas Online Counseling therapists play a vital role in bringing mental health services and awareness to their communities.
Misconception: Teletherapy is only for those with minor problems.
Reality: Teletherapy is appropriate for most mental health needs. Teletherapy can open avenues for most specialized modalities ranging from PTSD, OCD, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Marriage and Family, Addiction, Depression, Anxiety and many more. This is especially true for those that are in remote rural areas where there are gaps in services. The collective staff of Texas Online Counseling have experience and certifications that are not offered in most rural areas. As mentioned above, all teletherapy providers have extensive training in their area of practice and can offer the same quality of services for most needs ranging from support to extensive treatment needs. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health community has done a great job making accommodations for therapy modalities, such as EMDR, CPT, Emotional Freedom Therapy, DBT and so on. Teletherapy can last for as many sessions as needed, there is no limit.
Conclusion there are many benefits to teletherapy. However, nothing is the end all be all. Choosing a therapist is personal, whether you chose teletherapy or in person. The most important part of therapy is the therapeutic bond and trust level of the client and therapist. I have included a few tips for choosing a therapist. Read the reviews and ratings. You can verify licenses and view any major infractions on the state board’s website. Ask for a short meeting to ask questions and clarify any confusion before starting formal therapy. Most teletherapy platforms will offer a free consultation of some sort. Have a list of questions ready prior to consultation meeting. Most major insurances will have a referral list you can pick from. Educate yourself and make an informed decision based on your personal needs.