Telehealth is communicating with your provider from a distance, often by video but could also be phone, email, texts, or chats. Telehealth offers a lot of benefits but also has some drawbacks to consider.
Getting therapy through telehealth can be very convenient and may be the only way to overcome some common barriers that many people have when seeking therapy. As long as you have a good internet connection and a device suitable to the programs, you can access therapy from wherever you are. This means you can do therapy from the comfort of your home. If you’re traveling you could make time in your hotel room and not have to cancel that week. It allows you to avoid problems with weather or illness. It also gives you access to a lot more therapists than just your immediate location. For people who live in more remote places, this can make it possible to even have access to a therapist without traveling several hours by car.
There are some downsides however. First, is privacy. It’s harder to maintain privacy with telehealth services. Without specific actions taken, email, texts, and chats are not considered private or secure. There are ways you can achieve privacy in these ways but it has to happen on both sides of the conversation in order to guarantee privacy. The risk here is high so most therapists won’t agree to therapy through texts or email and will reserve these for scheduling only. Video is a lot easier. At Life Recovery we use a system called Doxy.me. Doxy.me has an encrypted point-to-point connection that complies with all requirements of HIPAA. Your therapist will send you a link that will get you directly to the connection. Nothing to download or install.
A second downside is the lack of in person interaction. Some people find talking to a screen to be distancing. It can be hard to connect with someone not in the room with you. It also makes it harder for your therapist to pick up on how you’re reacting to things. Therapists tend to watch for small signals in body language to gauge how a client is doing around certain topics. For example, maybe you start fidgeting your feet when talking about a parent. On a video screen, your therapist can’t see that and may miss an important clue to your wellbeing. For this reason, many therapists won’t see clients who are at risk for suicide, overdose, and self-injurious behaviors. We want to be able to have all information possible when working with clients at high risk and online therapy isn’t always the right solution.
If you think the convenience of telehealth would work for you and you want to try give it a try contact us and we’ll schedule you in.