Online Counseling (Telemental Health): Easy, Convenient, and Secure
Things sure escalated quickly recently. With all that is going on, everyone is feeling more stressed and anxious…not just you. And we believe that in times like these, many of us could use not only extra support, but the specialized help of a trained counseling professional to help us cope better in these difficult times. Online counseling could help.
Right now, you’re thinking, how could I possibly find time for counseling? How could I put one more thing on my schedule? The kids are home, I don’t have any time, when could I possible do that? And is it really safe to go out?
Yet, if you need help, you need help. You deserve to get the support you need and to attend to your well-being, so that you can then better care for others in your life.
Teletherapy (online counseling) could be just the solution you need. You can focus on your well-being and mental health and get the counseling you need–easily and conveniently–from the comfort of your own home, office, or other location.
Lots of people are going online for their counseling sessions. It’s an easy, fun, and convenient way to connect with someone outside who can provide you with some perspective on your life, help you gain insight into yourself and relationships, and help you cope better with the stress and anxiety you might be feeling right now.
You may be seeing online therapy provided by large corporate entities, or major drugstore chains. With online counseling at Life Counseling Institute, you’re getting a vetted, trained, skilled local professional who will be available to you within in your community, should you chose to do sessions in person at a later date.
We can help with all sorts of issues:
- Relationships struggles (via individual and yes, even online couples counseling)
- Parenting stress: kids home from school and causing stress? Call us, we can help
- Anxiety. Who is not anxious right now?
- OCD. We offer online exposure and response prevention (ERP)
- Stress management
- Life transition issues (divorce, job loss, career change, illness)
Online, we can help:
- Teens (they REALLY like being online, as you know!)
- And yes, children! Play therapy and child-parent relationship training are possible online. We also have a three-session Behavior Management Training program for parents. We can help your child with anxiety, behavior issues, relationship issues, and more.
Common Questions about Telehealth
How does it work?
Contact your therapist as you normally would to make an appointment. Your provider will send you an email link, which you can click to join in a virtual therapy session over Google Meet. You can use your computer or tablet to participate and you do not need to download any software or subscribe to any service. If you use your smartphone you will just need to download the Google Hangouts Meet app. You can talk to your provider as you normally would — it’s that easy!
Is it confidential?
Absolutely. Our therapists maintain strict confidentiality standards for your protection. This means your sessions cannot be recorded — this has been administratively removed as an option on our Google Meet platform. During this time of social distancing, our therapists are exclusively providing counseling via video from their office at LCI or from areas of their home that have privacy.
Now we can’t completely promise that your provider’s cat or dog won’t briefly stop in to say hello – but don’t worry, they have been fully trained in our HIPAA protocols!
Will it be covered by my insurance?
Most healthcare plans provide coverage for telehealth just like in-office therapy. In addition, in-network insurance is now required to cover your sessions at 100% by order of Governor Pritzker, for most plans. There may be some variations depending on your specific policy. If you and your therapist are not sure about your benefits, please reach out to our Client Care Coordinator Richelle Anderson at (630) 206-4491. If you run into any coverage issues we are happy to work with you on payment options. Even if you think you don’t have coverage for telehealth, or can’t afford payment, please give us a call — we continue to get updates from insurance plans that are expanding telehealth benefits as our culture adapts to the developing needs.
I’m home with my family and don’t know if I have a private space to talk — any advice?
We appreciate that that can be a tricky dynamic. Some of our clients meet for virtual sessions while on a walk, sitting in their car, or from their backyard. Often our therapists can adjust their schedules to connect with you during less busy times for your household — such as providing sessions on different days and earlier or later than usual. You can also try using headphones with a microphone on the cord — or, you can be on the screen but communicating with your therapist by the chat feature, in which you and your therapist can type back and forth.
I’m still not sure telehealth is right for me – maybe I should wait until I can see my therapist again in person?
It’s understandable to want to continue an in-person connection with your therapist. However, in these very unpredictable times, it is unclear how long this will be our new normal. There are a variety of estimated time frames suggested for social distancing measures lasting from 6 weeks to 18 months. Connecting with your counselor via video is an easy way to avoid disrupting your care — and to receive consistent support toward your goals. This can become even more important during these stressful times.
The number of people reaching out for services at LCI continues to be high — with our community experiencing mounting anxieties and losses during this global health crisis. As many people seek counseling support, we regret that we cannot hold a time spot for current clients who opt out of telehealth. We want you to have your regular session so you can continue the progress you started — and so you are well prepared to face the challenges ahead, whatever they might be.
If you are hesitant to try telehealth we encourage you to try at least one session to see what it’s like. Your therapist would be happy to provide a free 5-minute video meet-up to show you what to expect.
Have telehealth therapy sessions been proven to be effective?
Yes. There have been numerous studies conducted showing that telehealth is just as effective as in-person counseling.
The American Psychiatric Association(APA) published a physician reviewed article in 2017 that notes the following:
“There is substantial evidence of the effectiveness of telepsychiatry and research has found satisfaction to be high among patients, psychiatrists and other professionals. Telepsychiatry is equivalent to in-person care in diagnostic accuracy, treatment effectiveness, quality of care and patient satisfaction. Patient privacy and confidentiality are equivalent to in-person care.” https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/what-is-telepsychiatry
According to a 2016 article in the World Journal of Psychiatry,
“Telepsychiatry is comparable to face-to-face services in terms of reliability of clinical assessments and treatment outcomes . . . telepsychiatry performed as well as, if not better than face-to-face delivery of mental health services.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4919267/
Note that “telepsychiatry” may include a range of services including individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy (APA, 2017)
Other helpful information about telehealth care:
How to Make the Most out of Teletherapy Right Now:
Can’t See Your Therapist Because of COVID-19? The new world of virtual psychotherapy is brighter than you think.
Other Questions or Concerns?
We welcome the opportunity to discuss these with you! Contact your therapist, Client Care Coordinator Richelle Anderson at (630) 206-4491, or LCI Founder and Director Marilee Feldman at (630) 206-4457.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ONLINE SOON!
Call us at (630) 269-2886 or inquire online to get your online counseling appointment set up right away. We’re here to help!