Teletherapy , online therapy, video counseling, are all synonymous with a relatively new way of delivering counseling services using technology. A quick entry into a google search bar will show that video based counseling is by no means a newfangled, untested approach to counseling. While services run the spectrum of everything from intensive live video (like Journey Clinical Services) to text/chat support coaching, it is easy to see that people are interested in accessing mental health care online. This really speaks to the need that people want counseling that is convenient. It simply utilizes technology and brings the counselor into your home or work place, or car, where it is convenient and private for you. Some key things to know about video counseling are:
- Online medical and mental health care has been employed by large corporations and federal entities for decades. Mainstream popularity is still fairly new and definitely growing, but it is by no means an untested, unproven way to deliver services
- Practitioners must have the same credentials regardless of if they are providing in-office or online counseling. All counselors, regardless of location of sessions must have appropriate education and licensing requirements in order to provide the service.
- Client security and safety is paramount whether the sessions are in-office or online. There are a a few circumstances that in-office care would be the preferred mode of treatment for a client, however, most clients can be treated as safely and effectively over video counseling as they can in-office. There are special accommodations made for online counseling sessions to ensure patient safety in the event of a medical or psychological emergency during the session.
Other key benefits to video counseling to consider:
- Convenience. We are busier than ever and evidently more depressed than ever. 1 in 6 people are on depression medications and there has been a 64% increase in depression medication prescriptions since 1999 (Pratt L.A., Brody D.J., & Gu Q. Antidepressant use among persons aged 12 and over: United States, 2011–14. NCHS Data Brief, No. 283. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017). Being busier and more depressed than ever poses a crisis for many; they know they need counseling but quite frankly don't have the time for it. Journey Clinical Services was born out of personally seeing this need for myself and my family. As a working mom to three, I had a child in counseling that required 3 hours of time out of my day for a 50 minute appointment and a single counseling appointment often required:
- Taking leave from work
- Hour and a half round trip drive to and from the counselor's office
- Checking child out of school for appointment
- Interrupting my younger kid’s nap schedule
- Toddler crawling all around waiting room floor during flu and cold season
- Rush hour traffic
- Screaming baby who was hungry while stuck in rush hour traffic
It was too much. I thought there had to be a better way. I know there are other people like me. Other people who desperately want counseling for themselves or for a family member, but do not have the time for a 50 minute session, an hour round trip drive, and childcare for their kids while they are there. So often others find they are between a rock and a hard place of knowing counseling could be beneficial, but are simply unable to meet the demands that it requires, along with everything else. With online counseling like Journey Clinical Services, you need a high speed internet connection (wifi or 4g), privacy and 50 minutes. You can have a live, face to face video counseling session from your couch or kitchen table at home while your child naps, or from your office on your smart phone during your lunch break or from your car while your kid is in soccer practice. It makes counseling as convenient as possible. Online counseling aims to fits into your life, rather than asking you to fit your life around counseling.
- Confidential. All counseling is confidential, but online counseling offers an additional layer of confidentiality that in-office sessions do not: it eliminates the potentially uncomfortable situation where you see someone you know at the counselor’s office. I live in a pretty large city and I have had experiences of running into neighbors and coworkers at the counselor’s office. I do not particularly mind, because counseling is my field and I think it is a great resource, but I have felt bad for the neighbors and coworkers I have seen who have felt a need to “explain” why they are there, or try their best to hide behind the large potted plant in the office waiting room. This can be even more of an issue in smaller towns or when the client is a well-known or has a position of prominence in the community. Pastors of well-established churches or business owners or the favorite teacher at the elementary school may shy away from getting help they need for fear of running into someone at the counselors office. Online counseling eliminates this concern, making it truly confidential.
- Cost Effective. While the hourly rates are the same for in-office or online sessions, online counseling can be cost extremely cost effective. Online counseling does not require your time to commute to and from the appointment, which can save you from taking unpaid (or paid) leave from work. It eliminates the need for gas to and from appointments. It eliminates the need to pay for childcare if you can log on to a session while your spouse is home in the evening, or the hour while your daughter is at gymnastics, or during your lunch hour at work. Given the amount of time we have each day is finite, video counseling inherently places a high value on time and makes counseling as efficient as possible.
- Comfortable. We conduct so much business and aspects of our lives online, it only makes sense to offer counseling in a manner that is consistent with how we obtain the vast majority of our information and the things we need. Research shows that online video based counseling is just as effective in achieving desired outcomes as in-office counseling. It also reports as high, and sometimes higher satisfaction rates when compared to in-office counseling. Gone are the days when we should accept that life-changing counseling can only happen in a therapists office miles away from our own homes. Today we have the ability to access the same services from the comfort of our homes or own offices where we do life each and every day.
Online counseling provides a great alternative to in-office counseling and is another avenue that enables us to get the help we need. I see clients who reside anywhere in Alabama, from the convenience of thier work and/or home. I'm happy to answer any question(s) you have about online counseling in general or as it pertains specifically to Journey Clinical Services. I'm here to help.