Do you need support, but can’t make it to an in-person appointment? Are you a busy stay-at-home or working parent, and don’t have the time to drive across town for an appointment? Do you live in a more rural area, or maybe you prefer to just do things virtually?
If so, we can help you through virtual therapy, or telehealth. Telehealth allows us to provide counseling and therapy to our clients via live video conferencing. This can be done anywhere you have private access to a computer or smartphone.
I began using telehealth a few years before 2020 gave everyone a crash course in zoom life. I really appreciate the flexibility it offers clients when life makes it challenging to make it to the physical office. A sick child, a packed work schedule, car trouble, or some good old fashioned Vermont winter can all throw plans out the window and having one more way to make it to your appointment can make it easier to be consistent with your care.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is telehealth secure and private?
Yes. All appointments are conducted through a secure encrypted connection and HIPAA compliant telehealth software Provided by SimplePractice. Your counselor maintains privacy the same way they would in an office setting. The only difference is the client’s responsibility to provide security and privacy where they are. You wouldn’t get a physical in a coffee shop, and that’s not an appropriate place to meet your therapist either.
Is telehealth different than in person appointments?
Yes and no. You still get the attention and care of your counselor and work toward your treatment goals together. Some things may take time to adjust to, and sometimes the social cues we use in person get lost over video, but many people adapt to these differences in a few appointments. There are some things that might be different (missing body language, the shared experience of a space) but the core of the therapeutic relationship will be the same, In some ways it may be better than meeting in person, many people prefer the convenience of meeting in their homes and having the opportunity to keep an appointment even when Vermont wealthy is uncooperative Personally I’ve loved the pet cameos.
How can I set myself up for success?
Check your technology (internet connection, computer capability) Check your space (lighting, privacy, sound, a stable spot motion sick therapist is not good) Check in with yourself (will you be distracted doing an appointment in the kitchen looking at the dishes? Are you comfortable where you’re sitting) Think about what you like in your therapists office a comfy spot to sit, a fidget item… Some tools that might be helpful: a computer screen more than a phone, headphones if you’re worried about distracting background noise, a white noise machine (or free phone app) outside your door for privacy. Always communicate concerns and ask questions, your therapist wants to know if something isn’t working for you, that could be an easy fix like “hey, you’re muted” or something a little more challenging like “It feels like you’re missing what I’m feeling here…” Our goal is to make this work for you, so the more information the better.
Does my insurance plan cover telehealth appointments?
During the COVID-19 pandemic all plans sold on the VT Health Exchange and Medicaid are covering telehealth the same way they would in-person mental health appointments. Many plans included telehealth as a treatment option before the pandemic and will likely continue to do so after. Because plans vary significantly the most accurate answer to this question will come from calling your insurance provider.
What about after Covid?
It’s really a personal choice, some clients and therapists love their online work and will continue that exclusively, some can’t wait to get back to in person, some may do a hybrid option (some sessions in person and some remote). If you’re starting with a new therapist, ask them about their long term telehealth plans and think about that as part of your “is it a good fit” assessment.
Simple Practice has a great client handbook that walks through some basics.