The novel coronavirus has completely shifted the world of behavioral healthcare. Many individuals, especially those who are immunocompromised or elderly, have decided to forgo in-person treatment in favor of outpatient telehealth programs. These newly popularized services have spurred many questions from potential patients. Chief among these: Is teletherapy confidential? Does it work as well as an in-person session? Today, we’ll break down all of your frequently asked questions about teletherapy.
Does Teletherapy Work?
Yes! Research has shown time and time again that patients in treatment for substance use disorders respond favorably to teletherapy, reporting comparable levels of satisfaction to in-person sessions. In addition, remote therapy includes a host of unique benefits, including improved access to care, lower costs, more privacy and the ability for therapists to reach more clients on a more flexible basis. During the era of COVID-19, the advantages of telehealth services have become more important than ever before.
Is Teletherapy Confidential?
If you are working with the correct provider, yes, your teletherapy sessions are fully confidential. Be wary of meetings taking place over consumer-grade services; these may not fully protect your information. These platforms do not encrypt your data: scrambling it and delivering it over a secure connection to meet privacy regulations. By working with a reputable addiction treatment provider, you can ensure that you are receiving high quality care through a fully encrypted, HIPAA-compliant software platform.
What Should I Expect?
The Cumberland Heights staff will walk you through the specifics of our HIPAA-compliant platform, including how to access teletherapy and additional support services. Before your session, you will receive an invitation to join. During the meeting, clients and clinicians can see and hear one another in real time, using webcams and an online learning environment. If you’ve ever used FaceTime or Skype, you probably have a good idea of what to expect in a teletherapy session.
No matter how tech-savvy you are or how long you’ve worked with your therapist, logging in for the first time may feel a bit awkward. Don’t be alarmed if you two don’t feel “in-sync” right away. Just as in traditional face-to-face sessions, it can be tempting to use initial discomfort as a sign that online therapy isn’t for you. Push through this and wait until you and your therapist have adjusted to the circumstances. Cracking jokes, acknowledging the situation and building rapport can go a long way towards your ability to adapt to remote therapy sessions!
Teletherapy also allows unique benefits that traditional sessions lack. For example, you can introduce your therapist to beloved pets, or ask a family member to join you for a tough conversation. This format lets you improvise more and get creative with your meetings. The actual therapy you’ll receive is the same as in-person sessions, just moved online. You’ll still benefit from evidence-based, tried-and-true techniques.
Tips for Telehealth Sessions
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your remote therapeutic experience.
Find a quiet, private space. Therapy is an inherently emotional, vulnerable event. By setting up in a private spot in your home, away from housemates or family members, you’ll be able to speak candidly and feel more fully invested in your session.
Put on some headphones. This serves two purposes: it can improve sound quality and provide an additional layer of privacy during your conversation.
Use a computer if possible. While you can access teletherapy software through other devices, like a smartphone or iPad, some interactive features may not be available. Consider using a computer to make the most of the software.
Check your connection. Video calls can be dramatically affected by poor WiFi connections. Having other family members on the WiFi network can slow down or interrupt your session. Before logging on, be sure that your connection is strong; you may want to ask other members of the household to wait until you’re done to stream Netflix, watch YouTube videos or play online multiplayer games.
Set up early. Get ready for your session at least five minutes in advance. That way, you can check connections, find a pair of headphones, grab any necessary materials and communicate with housemates before your therapist has joined.
Teletherapy in Nashville, Tennessee
You can now access the Cumberland Heights curriculum through your devices from the comfort of your own home. Each meeting is fully HIPAA-compliant and led by licensed or master’s level addiction counselors. Contact us to begin receiving teletherapy services today.