Your relationship with your therapist is different then any kind of relationship you have had whether in person or by telephone. Sharing between friends and with family members is about mutual give-and-take. Your relationship with a psychologist is different! Psychotherapy helps you think mindfully about you.
With whom do you have a relationship where you can focus solely on yourself, with a listening, non-judgmental, experienced person who is there to understand and problem-solve your experience? While the one-sided nature of psychotherapy may be new to you, and different at first, it is a process that makes a space for you to think out loud about you and yet not alone! Psychotherapy uniquely offers a place to both be with someone experienced and have a space for yourself.
What is it like to take this kind of professional relationship out of the consulting room and establish an agreement for phone or video conferencing therapy sessions? Psychotherapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are possible via the telephone. HIPAA compliant platforms are available for psychotherapy by videoconferencing as well. These services have grown over the last ten years.
Telepsychotherapy is not for everyone and it is not for all situations. Sometimes it essential for clients to receive emergency and/or urgent in-person evaluation and referral.
There are some additional things you should be aware of:
First, many health insurance plans do not reimburse for mental health services provided by telephone or video conferencing, so it is important for you to call your insurer and inquire if your policy covers mental health services by telephone or videoconferencing.
Second, an initial phone call does not automatically begin a therapy process. Typically after an initial phone discussion, psychologist and client arrange a period of consultation, usually a few sessions. During this phase, both the psychologist and the client decides if and how they might work together. The psychologist makes an assessment of appropriateness for psychotherapy by teleconferencing, and gains clarity regarding the client’s goals and treatment needs. The client determines their comfort level with the psychologist and with the use of telephone or videoconferencing. At the conclusion of the consultation period, options are discussed such as: an agreement to move forward or the possibility of referral to appropriate services.
Telemedicine has a growing history and may be a worthwhile resource to help you.
Susan Barbour, Ed.D., Psychologist
Dynamic Psychotherapy Associates, LLC