As telecommunications technology continues to provide better connections, video quality and audio quality, mental health professionals and patients see the benefits of teletherapy. Treating clients remotely is convenient for both patients and practitioners and helps fill some of the gaps in care in under-served communities. Yet some therapists are hesitant to start offering telehealth services. We’ll go over some of the challenges of this therapy format and offer tips you can use to ensure your remote mental health sessions are smooth and impactful for your patients.
Challenges in Teletherapy
Why are behavioral health professionals hesitant to adopt teletherapy? Here are three of the top challenges to consider:
1. Concerns Over Efficacy
Some clinicians are concerned that teletherapy simply may not work or be as effective as in-person treatment. However, a meta-analysis of 13 studies found that the two forms of treatment are equally effective.
2. Client Connection
Body language and minute facial expressions can tell a clinician a lot about a patient, and many behavioral health professionals worry that not seeing a client in person will hamper their ability to make an impactful connection with the client. However, improvements in audio and video quality are continuing to make this less of an issue.
3. Technological Literacy
Some clinicians aren’t comfortable with the technology necessary to conduct remote mental health sessions. However, interfaces are becoming easier to use, and most professionals can become proficient with just a bit of practice.
5 Tips for Online Therapy Sessions
If you’re ready to make teletherapy work more effectively for you and your clients, try these five tips for success.
1. Prepare Your Equipment
Ensure you have all your ducks in a row in terms of the computer, camera and microphone you are using. You need a basic level of troubleshooting ability in case something goes wrong.
2. Practice for the Sessions
Before you go live with patients, try doing a few run-throughs with friends or family to make sure you can conduct the session smoothly.
3. Set the Right Stage
The environment you conduct sessions in needs to be as professional as possible. You need a quiet, neutral background with enough lighting and no clutter.
4. Coach Your Patients
Your patients will need guidance on things such as having the right equipment and a fast enough internet connection. Consider creating a list of best practices to distribute to your teletherapy patients.
5. Use a HIPAA-Compliant Platform
Make sure the videoconferencing software you’re using is HIPAA-compliant to protect your patients’ information.
ICANotes for Successful Teletherapy Appointments
Charting can be more of a challenge when offering telehealth services. You don’t want to audibly type away during your session, but you need to ensure you are documenting the session fully if you want the maximum reimbursement.
ICANotes is a behavioral health EHR that allows you to create documentation swiftly and accurately for your teletherapy services. If you want to see how our specialized platform works, sign up for a free trial of the software.