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Psychology Technology

Telemedicine For Everyone

Telemedicine For Everyone
Woman holding phone to ear, looking at a laptop, and sitting at a table with a large window behind her)
Did you know: Telemedicine and telemental health access is available to you. Have you tried it? Photo Credit: free for commercial use.

If you live in a large city, it’s likely you have already had your first experience with telemedicine.

Suppose on Day Seven of a nasty cold or flu, you decide it’s time to see your doctor. You call up your medical practitioner’s office and request an appointment. In smaller stand-alone practices, you would speak to a receptionist or scheduler, and you would be offered an appointment with your doctor based on his/her availability. In larger multiple-practitioner offices, you might be offered the option of seeing a different doctor other than your primary doctor if you wished to be seen sooner. Yet by phone, you’ve been triaged and placed into the schedule.

Most medical centers began using telephonic triage nurses to help patients get effective medical care in a timely manner, and also keep those who actually did not need to see their doctor from spreading colds and flus to others in a waiting room. Seattle is no exception, and I had the opportunity to work as a Telephonic Triage Nurse in 2011 and 2012. I am happy to report that I learned a lot about the effectiveness of telemedicine during that time!

Telemedicine, particularly in behavioral health settings, is an exciting option for those seeking counseling therapy. Yet perhaps you wonder, as I do, why more people aren’t using it more. Less than two percent of the inquires I receive from potential clients include a request for telemental counseling services (that is, sessions provided over an Internet connection using a HIPAA compatible video conferencing platform, or services provided over the phone).

Until last month, that is. I received an unprecedented number of inquiries about access to counseling sessions either by phone or by video conferencing. And I actually think this is very good news. Read on to find out why.

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Client-centered Therapy Counseling How to Psychology Work

That NYT Amazon Post

Editorial Note: It is extremely rare that I write about real stories as they happen. Confidentiality must be maintained in my work at all costs. However, the aftermath of an article in the New York Times in August 2015 demands a response.  In this post, all stories have been generalized; only the original post is referenced. I will not confirm the presence of employees from any one company in the Seattle area as clients. I was not approached by Amazon nor any other company to write this post. These are my own words.  – imei

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What do you do with workplace stress? What happens when you’re not sure you can “make it” in your workplace? We’re exploring these questions, and more!

On Sunday morning August 16, 2015, New York Times writers Jodi Kantor and David Streitfelt published an article about workplace ethics and conditions at Amazon.com. The article’s description from former employees who cried at their desks and were encouraged to tear each other’s ideas apart through use of internal communications sparked a firestorm of comments, including ones from current Amazon employees defending the company’s practices and attacking the veracity of the journalists. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos responded quickly with a letter to his employees, asking them to share whether they had experienced the stories found in the article.

How does any of this relate to a private practice in mental health a few miles down the road from Amazon’s headquarters? Why would I devote a lengthy post to what is being hailed by some as a classic example of media spin?

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Change Client-centered Therapy Counseling Group Therapy Psychology Relationships

Life Transitions Therapy Group Starting February

Group Therapy Feedback Life Change Counseling

What life transition are you experiencing? New therapy group is forming in February 2015.
What life transition are you experiencing? New therapy group is forming in February 2015. Photo credit: Sid Mosdell on Flickr Creative Commons. 

Around this time, I typically write a blog post focusing on relationships. New Year’s Day triggers an evaluative mechanism, where people question whether they are getting the most out of their closest relationships and routines.

Let’s mix it up a bit, shall we?

We came up with something we haven’t offered through our services at Seattle Direct Counseling since I first opened my doors for business in 2006. On February 11, 2015, right before Valentine’s Day, we’d invite you (Seattle people only) to consider being a member of our first therapy group, Life Transitions.