Do you get nostalgic when it comes time to replace or discard old technology? Have you ever been caught off-guard by your own feelings when you encounter old tech and gadgets? And does your answer have anything to do with counseling?
When I celebrated my 50th birthday, friends fêted me with a party that included homemade, allergen-free food, and reminders of my childhood. including an electronic memory game called, Simon. Soon, I was reminiscing about everything from rotary phones with exceptionally long telephone cords to the different PC models that would have been the backdrop of every geeky kid’s experience in America. Where were you when the TRS-80 (later called the Model I) was revealed on August 3, 1977?
Starting June 2017, Seattle Direct Counseling services will transition from 20% telehealth services (online and phone) to 100% telehealth (not counting presentations, interviews and podcasts, and email communications). This transition begs the question, “What should I look for in a telehealth therapist?”
Here is my short list of things you should look for when seeking a therapist who uses telehealth options as their primary way of delivering mental health and coaching services using accepted technological platforms and devices.
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.