From the Couch to the Computer: Transitioning to Telehealth during the Coronavirus Crisis
It seems as if our world has been turned upside down. From the way we shop for groceries to how we interact with friends to how our kids learn, Americans are being forced to learn to change and adapt at a mind-blowing pace. Even the way we receive medical care – be it physical or mental – has moved from the office to online.
For some, the transition has been easy. In fact, telehealth, also known as telephone or online 1counseling, has been around for a number of years, and has been proven to be quite effective. But for those who consider themselves to be, shall we say, technologically challenged, this sudden shift from in-person to online can seem daunting.
Your anxiety is high. Maybe you find yourself slipping into a depression. Or perhaps being at home with loved ones 24/7 has caused a strain on your marriage or within the family, or you’re struggling with addiction or caregiver stress. You might be thinking that the last thing you probably need right now is more change, but chances are, what you do need right now is some sense of normalcy. In fact, with many of us mandated to stay home and stay safe, we need validation, support, and social connection more than ever, and counseling can help.
What Exactly is Telehealth?
The only significant difference between in-person therapy and telehealth is the medium. Rather than sitting in an office face-to-face with your therapist, you sit in front of a computer or phone screen. Most telehealth sessions are conducted using both video and audio, but for those who prefer audio only, your therapist will accommodate you with telephone sessions. You and your therapist will meet using a HIPAA compliant platform that is similar to FaceTime or Skype, but secure, so you’ll have the same privacy you would if you were in the therapy room.
What are the Benefits of Telehealth?
There are actually a few advantages of telehealth therapy:
- Online and telephone therapy offer a lot more flexibility. You don’t to leave your home to receive help, which means if you or a child is home sick, you can still have your session(provide you feel well enough, of course).
- You won’t have to battle traffic, saving you both time and gas money!
- No need to cancel your therapy session due to bad weather and dangerous driving conditions.
- You can totally rock out yoga pants or pajama bottoms and no one will be the wiser!
Tips for Making the Most from Telehealth Therapy
- Find a private place in your home without distractions. If this isn’t possible, sit in your car or even outside.
- To help with privacy, use earbuds or headphones.
- Make sure your Internet connection is strong. To help with connectivity, close other windows in the background.
- For video sessions, be sure your computer or phone has a built in microphone and camera.
- Turn off notifications, such as email and other messages, to limit distractions.
- Consider raising your screen to eye level so that you don’t strain your neck.
- Last but not least, it’s important to remember that although this may be the new normal, COVID-19 won’t last forever. Before we know it, school will be back in session, we can all head back to the gym, and people across the nation will be back on their therapists’ couches.
All of Deepwater Counseling’s therapists are offering telehealth sessions! Call us at 734.203.0183 ext. 700 or contact us here to learn more or schedule an appointment.