My Thoughts on Telehealth!
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have worked virtually since March 2020 with my therapy clients. Recently and since being fully vaccinated I have added one day to see clients with masks in the office. I have found that some clients still prefer to meet virtually given the ease of logging on to the computer for a therapy session and the lack of commute.
Telehealth therapy sessions have had their fair share of complications and complexities. Lack of a strong WiFi signal, internet accessibility, and lack of privacy in the client's home are among the most frustrating components of telehealth for some of my clients. It's very hard for clients to process family problems or marital strife when their partner or family member is in the next room over! Although telehealth may be difficult at times, it continues to be an extremely popular option for those who wish to go to therapy and I believe will continue to be popular post-pandemic. I offer a complimentary 15 minute phone or Zoom call to meet potential clients to see if we are a good fit before meeting in person or continuing to work with them. To prepare for an initial session with a telehealth therapist, it is a good idea to have a list of questions to ask your therapist. Don't be afraid to ask for their training history or credentials to see if you are a good match. Feel free to ask them if they have experience working with someone who may have a similar issue as you. As the pandemic winds down, it also may be important to ask if they have a brick and mortar office to transition to once you feel comfortable to attend therapy in person.
Mental health apps, such as TalkSpace and Better Help, are increasingly popular. I think these apps are a great way to increase access to therapy services, and they also help destigmatize seeking mental health help. But, I believe there is no real suitable replacement for an in-person therapy session. The relationship between the therapist and client is the most important factor in therapy and a lot of what makes therapy so effective and life changing is lost when you're both texting behind screens and can't read the other person's facial expression or body language. Overall, if you are looking for a shorter term therapy relationship or need support around a specific problem or issue, I believe online therapy apps can be very helpful, but if you are seeking a longer term therapy relationship and wish to do deep work, in-person therapy is probably the way to go.