Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a lot of cultural changes. It had become harder to safely see our friends, families, and health practitioners in-person. This not only led to the need for more video chats, working from home, and elastic waist bands, but also a need to reconsider how health practitioners meet and interact with their clients. The need for telehealth services is where Reflective Counseling was born.
Studies have shown that telehealth services are not only result in comparable therapeutic outcomes to in-person therapeutic services, but that this method of service delivery had led to an increase in client satisfaction, a decrease in cost (monetarily and time as it relates to commuting). Due to the increase in location flexibility, studies have shown to be beneficial for clients that live in rural areas, are busy professionals, young adults, seniors, and those with mobility issues.
Telehealth requires practitioners and clients to increase their verbal communication skills in order to compensate for a reduction in non-verbal cues (typically seen in body language). Telehealth also provides clients alternate means of communication, such as chat functions. These alternative forms of communication and the reduction of intensity of communication via the use of medium of telehealth, many clients find that it is easier to discuss difficult topics with their clinicians.
Telehealth allows clinicians opportunities to see their clients’ work and/or home environments and meet important significant others, thus increasing the clinician’s understanding of the context in which their clients live and increase data collection that can enhance treatment. Additionally, telehealth provides a unique opportunity for clients to learn new skills in the very environment in which these skills will be used. Learning new skills in the environment that they will be used increases the likelihood that these skills will be utilized and that they will be utilized more effectively.
Despite all of the positive reports regarding the use of telehealth, telehealth is not for everybody. If clients are uncomfortable using telehealth services, their therapy sessions may be negatively impacted. Telehealth services also requires a strong internet connection and a certain level of technological literacy. Due to the differing use of devices and internet service providers, quality control can also be difficult.
As you consider if telehealth services are for you, consider your experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider the difficulty inherent in making changes and how well you acclimated to these changes. Consider your overall comfortability with utilizing video chat services in other contexts outside of health delivery services. If you believe that telehealth mental health services could be for you, or even if you are willing to give it a try, please feel free to contact us to ask any questions you may have and set up your intake session.