So today I am going to be bragging on E-Therapy, aka Online Therapy, aka Telehealth, aka Virtual Therapy…
Call it whichever of those you would like… just stay will me!
When I was attending graduate school and I heard about the idea of E-Therapy becoming a “thing,” I was quite concerned… down right skeptical. I was just experiencing the immense impact of creating a therapeutic relationship with someone and working through the ups and downs of whatever my clients needed to process. There is so much energy and power in the counseling/therapy room, that I could not imagine not being physically present with my clients.
But as time goes on… and society progresses on its trajectories… E-Therapy makes more and more sense. I have been made a believer! SO MUCH SO… that I am excited to be jumping into providing these services starting this summer! (More on that later.) I am going to cut to the chase though with why I believe in E-Therapy and why I see it as an asset to our society.
(1) Accessibility! Not only can therapy appointments be made at whatever time… but clients can conduct their therapy sessions from their smart phones! The only things you need are: internet accessibility, webcam, and browser. There is no need for software even! If you were running late with errands… no need to call off your appointment. Sit in your car and conduct your session before driving home! People can even use their lunch break for a therapy session and not sacrifice time after work to get the support they need. Of course, you can do this in the comfort of your home, favorite spot in nature, or where ever you see fit.
(2) Less pressure. My professor (Dr. Scott Wickman) often discussed with our classes that people are far less inhibited in their disclosures online. For some reason, people are able to share certain things they usually would not share when there is a screen between them. This can allow for therapy to be jump-started more quickly, as clients are willing to share deeper thoughts and feelings at a faster rate.
(3) Anonymity. As much as I would like to think the stigmatization of receiving counseling and therapy services has gone, it still exists. For those of you who are concerned about seeing someone you know while walking up to your therapist’s office or while inside, E-therapy takes away that potential. No one else has to know that you are receiving services. There are JUST as strict HIPAA guidelines for E-Therapy as any other form of healthcare. IN FACT, you will not even have a paper file anymore. It will all be securely saved in the cloud with intense encryption. PLUS… as a therapist, it is nice that I will NEVER need to have a filing cabinet. The video conferencing and filing managing company I partner with will take care of all these needs and my clients’ information will be safe and secure.
(4) No need for a baby sitter. Parents please start rejoicing here! I currently work with children with behavioral and mood disorders. I know that parents need and desire support but do not feel as though they have the time to pursue therapeutic services for themselves because they are trying diligently to provide for their children’s needs. E-Therapy allows parents to more easily access therapy for themselves because they they don’t have to leave the home. This also takes out any additional costs associated with getting someone to watch the kiddos. Single parents can finally have the support they need. And I will say that I do not mind at all if there are some kiddos in the background… as long as you don’t!
(5) Less missed sessions. Statistics talk. E-Therapy has been proven to have FAR less missed sessions than traditional therapy practices. This is surely due to convenience factors, but also because I can send out TEXT reminders and email reminders automatically. Also, if you are traveling or on a business trip, there is no need to skip that week! You can still conduct your session from where ever you will be. People don’t have to miss. When there are less missed sessions, that means people are getting more consistent help. More consistent help, means more progress and growth. WIN for all!
(6) More teen friendly. It is hard to get teens to be compliant with attending therapy sessions. Avoid the fight of trying to get them in the car, wear some decent clothes, or go talk to some person they don’t know. They can wear their pajamas if they want and never have to leave their room. They can even browse through pictures and choose their therapist, get a FREE CONSULTATION to see if they connect to the person, and it kinda feels like they are Facetiming. Now, E-Therpay is not Facetiming and is not Skyping… but it is something that feels close and so teens are likely to be more comfortable with it.
(7) You schedule YOUR session. THIS is awesome. You do not have to make sure that the office is open… you don’t have to be put on hold… you don’t have to deal with that rude secretary (or nice one)… You click a link and schedule your appointment. BOOM. Done.
(8) Reach more people. There are some people who live in areas that don’t have good therapy services available or people who specialize in their needs. Some people do not have transportation, have disabilities, or are constantly traveling for their job. Some people are stationed in other countries or missionaries. These barriers to receiving services are removed and that is such a beautiful thing. It breaks my heart to hear of people who want help, but they cannot receive it due to circumstances outside of their control. My heart is to be able to reach those people and provide for those who desire and need therapeutic services; regardless of these typical barriers.
(9) Takes away the depression and anxiety barriers. Many people needing help suffer from being so depressed or so anxious that they feel as though they cannot even leave the home. E-Therapy is a solution for them! There is no need to leave the home or “look presentable.” Just hop on your computer and get the help you need to make it through your day.
(10) More time I can dedicate to clients. E-Therapy has no commute. No gobs of paperwork. I can be my own boss. I can get all my work done on a computer (SECURELY). All of these things allow my schedule to be more available and open to serve people. I so desire to pour into the lives of people. Yes, paperwork and such is a part of that… but I would rather spend more time WITH people than behind the scenes for people.
These are the reasons why I am SO excited to be starting the E-Therapy leg of my business this coming summer (June 2016!!!). I am based in Illinois and will only be able to accept Illinois residents until I am able to start pursuing licensure in other states (looking into Ohio first!!). Please keep your eyes open for my launch and look for FREE CONSULTATION opportunities to see if working with me will be a good fit for your needs. I am very interested in working with youth and parents of youth with behavior (including Autism) or mood disorders. I did much research over Spring Break and I am looking to utilize video conferencing services from Simple Practice. They seem to be uniquely fit for counseling and therapy professionals and clients, as opposed to, a more broad telehealth provider.
Please feel free to comment or email me (JillianRedefiningWellness@gmail.com) with an understanding that confidentiality is not ensured before I start utilizing Simple Practice services. Any correspondence currently will not be considered therapy or counseling, however, I would love to connect to answer questions you may have about my post.