Teletherapy (counseling through electronic means) has been found to be as effective as typical, face-to-face counseling. Video sessions allow clients to meet with a therapist from their home or other private location where internet access is available. This can reduce travel time, especially for clients living in remote areas. It can also be convenient when logistics such as child care, transportation or scheduling make visiting an office more difficult.
Teletherapy sessions are conducted through a secure, HIPPA compliant platform in order to protect the privacy of client health information. Payment is made through the secure platform. Email and messaging is also conducted through the secure platform. Clients must assure that they have an adequate computer and webcam and that they are in an area that is private and free from distractions or intrusions while conducting teletherapy sessions in order to preserve the confidentiality of the sessions.
Teletherapy is effective, but not appropriate for all client populations. Clients experiencing domestic violence, suicidal ideations, or other issues where safety concerns are paramount are not good candidates for teletherapy. Video sessions are best for individuals or couples as opposed to sessions that include multiple family members, as it may become difficult to include everyone in the camera’s field of view. Individuals that have difficulty using technology such as computers and webcams may not be appropriate for teletherapy.
Some states (including Kentucky) require Marriage and Family Therapists to obtain a Certificate In Technology Assisted Services in order to conduct teletherapy services with clients. While it may seem fairly simple to connect with clients via webcam, there are important privacy, logistical and ethical considerations for both clients and therapists. It is important that your therapist be properly trained and prepared to provide teletherapy services.