Telehealth also known as teletherapy or online therapy, is the practice of providing psychotherapy and mental health services via video-conference (such as Skype or Zoom) or on the telephone.
Telehealth is helpful for clients and psychologists as a way to start or continue psychotherapy services when in-person sessions aren’t available. It has recently become and important resource and avenue to start and continue mental health services during the pandemic.
There are a number of reasons you might choose telehealth to see a psychologist on-line:
- You may not be able to leave your office or home for the appointment;
- You or a family may be ill and not able to leave home for the psychotherapy session (but are well enough for the session);
- You may have suffered an injury or disability that limits your mobility;
- You may be caring for children at home;
- Poor weather conditions;
- You may travel outside of the location of the therapist, but want to have continuity of care by telehealth services;
- Unforeseen circumstances, such as a pandemic;
There are limitations to telehealth that are important for you to know:
- If you are actively in a crisis or suicidal, telehealth is not the ideal approach to getting help. Instead, call 911 or a crisis hotline/center for immediate support and services;
- You cannot ensure your privacy and confidentiality in the place you are receiving teletherapy. (such as a shared room or other people can hear your conversations at your location);
- Psychotherapy is based on our relationship. It can sometimes be challenging to feel connected via computer screen or telephone. It will be important to share how you are finding your connection with your psychologist. The psychologist will work with you to build an adequate toolbox to ensure safety and connection in our work together;
There will always remain certain circumstances where an in-person visit is preferred. However, research has shown that online therapy can address and treat the same needs that an in-person session can.
1. How can I ensure privacy?
Ideally, the best option is to find a secure space that is confidential where you can speak alone, freely, and comfortably. This may mean going to a different room, office, or even your car to have your psychotherapy session.
It could also mean scheduling your session when you know someone else will be home to look after the kids, or when family members are engaged in other activities. You could also ask other adults in the house for some privacy and let them know you need to be alone in the house/apartment for a period of time to have a confidential appointment.
2. How secure is telehealth?
As with any online platform, complete security can never be guaranteed. However, using end-to-end encryption in our video-conference software ensures that the online connection is secure and protected, which means your session is between only you and your therapist.
Our software also uses strict privacy and security standards to keep your information safe as well as it meets the data protection regulations of HIPAA and GDPR.
3. How can I pay for my teletherapy session?
Payment can be made by credit card after which your receipt will be e-mailed to you with the e-mail we have on file. If you prefer we can mail you the receipt.
4. I’m not technologically savvy.
The clinic will send you an email with instructions on how to access your teletherapy session. We recommend prior to your first session to test out the link to make sure everything works and to familiarize yourself with the process. If you have any questions about how the technological side works, please do not hesitate to contact the office at 514-758-7792. Jessica will walk you through the steps by phone.
5. I am not comfortable with online therapy.
Telehealth is a different way of working together. You are not obliged to meet your therapist through telehealth. If you are willing and would like to, we suggest trying telehealth for a session or two. If you are still not comfortable after the first session, talk to your therapist about options such as phone sessions, homework between sessions, email contact, or eventual return to in-person sessions.
We are here to answer any of your telehealth questions and to help your through this strange and difficult time we all find ourselves in. We are here for you.