COVID-19 brought a major increase in the use of telehealth for mental health services. For some, you may have already experienced your therapist or doctor shifting to online services. For others, this may be your first time considering using telehealth. Below, we briefly explore some of the advantages and complications of using telehealth in an effort to help you decide if it is the right fit for you.
Telehealth comes with some great advantages. It offers the ability to continue therapeutic relationships if you move and it allows for added flexibility in scheduling sessions. For example, you could squeeze in a session during a lunch break or while you are at home in your pjs! Additional advantages include not having to wait in an office or in traffic. Telehealth widens your options by not restricting you to clinics that are geographically close by. During the pandemic, it has been a vital tool for the continuity of services while reducing exposure to viruses. There has been research on telehealth for over 60 years and so far it has found that it effective for treating most mental health challenges that often retention rates are higher.*
Like all things, telehealth also has complications. For example, the devices used for telehealth can be challenging when notifications and distractions pop onto the screen. At times it can be difficult to find a private place or find adequate internet access. Another pitfall of online services is that your provider may miss body-cues, such as tapping your foot, that could have helped your provider understand you better. Lastly, it can be hard to navigate which programs to use and knowing how to make sure that they are protecting your privacy. Our advice is to reach out to your provider about any of these potential challenges or concerns listed above and discuss them.
Ultimately the choice to participate in online telehealth is up to you. Does it fit with your current needs and lifestyle? Do you feel comfortable building a therapeutic alliance online? We recommend starting with identifying your needs, expertise desired and preferences you have and seeing if telehealth fits into those factors. Telehealth was designed to make care more accessible and ultimately it is about finding the right treatment and fit for you! Cultivating Courage Psychological Services is experienced with offering telehealth and we are here to help if you have any questions.