What is telemental health and is it right for me?
“Telemental health … refer[s] to the provision of mental health and substance abuse services from a distance”. The benefits include convenience, easy accessibility, and more options for treatment providers. We conduct sessions over a HIPAA secure video website (platform). The experience may be similar to video chatting with friends or family members; HOWEVER this is a much more secure means of communicating.
It is important to note that telemental health is not right for everyone. First and foremost, it is important to have a reliable internet connection. If you struggle with technology, the added anxiety of operating the software may prevent you from getting the most benefit from therapy. If the technology barrier is addressed, telemental health therapy is just as effective as in person therapy. Your treatment is the priority, if telemental health doesn’t work or you don’t have a good fit with me, I can refer you to other sources.
Legally, I can only practice in the state of Maryland. Both you and I must both be in Maryland during the session.
American Telemedicine Association (2013). American Telemedicine Association Practice Guidelines For Video-Based Online Mental Health Services 2013.
What should I expect in the first session?
During the first session we will address any technical difficulties and any issues with the settings. Please close other programs on your computer that might slow down the processing or create distractions with pop-ups or noises. It is important to be able to clearly see each other’s faces and to have the appropriate lighting and camera angles to do so. Also, the picture may be grainy or have video delay on occasion. This is to be expected with services over the internet. It is okay to ask me to repeat myself. If the video quality interferes too much with the quality of the session we can continue the session over the phone and we will address how to repair technical issues later.
During the first session I will ask to see your state issued picture ID. It is important for me to verify your identity. During the first session and each subsequent session I will also ask you for your physical address where you are located. This is necessary for safety and emergency planning, which will be addressed in session.
Please choose a private setting to have your sessions. Interruptions from pets or family members will disrupt the process and can distract both of us from the work we need to do. Please do not have other people in the room or within earshot of your session, unless we discuss it prior to the session starting.
How long will I be in therapy?
This is perhaps the most common question and the most difficult to answer. Everyone comes to a session at a different stage of change. I find the people that are most successful have been working with me for at least six months on a consistent (weekly) basis. Therapy can continue as long as it is helpful for you.
How does therapy work?
In therapy you work on your “process”, meaning that as you share about your life, you develop an awareness of the decisions you have made in your past and why, how your past has influenced your present and how to reduce the negative impact that your past has had on you. You become aware of patterns in your life and how to nourish the parts that make you strong.
How do I know if I need therapy?
I think that everyone can benefit from therapy. You can always grow as a person and become even better than what you are right now. You don’t need to have a severe mental health diagnosis to participate in therapy. You could just have some behaviors that you want to try to change.