With the current state of the world, many therapists are moving to online therapy. For most people, coming to therapy is scary enough without the addition of an online component. So we wanted to take a moment to address some of the most common questions we get about online therapy. If you have others, we’d be happy to answer them. Just shoot us an email and we’ll get back to you asap.
What is Online Therapy?
Online Therapy (or Telehealth) allows you and your therapist to connect anywhere with secure and convenient appointments that save you time and hassle. There’s no need to deal with traffic, scheduling hours off of work, etc. when you can schedule and attend your appointments directly from a laptop or mobile device.
During times where coming into the office may be difficult or inconvenient, Online Therapy allows you to continue your positive momentum in therapy and minimizes interruptions to change.
Is Online Therapy private and confidential?
Just like a face-to-face appointment, your Online Therapy visit will be private and confidential. We use a HIPAA compliant video-calling platform so your session is protected and kept confidential. The platform uses all of the most up to date security protocols, as well as encryption software that keeps your Online Therapy session secure.
Is Online Therapy effective?
Yes. Online Therapy has been shown to be effective and comparable to in-person sessions. It is associated with positive outcomes across a wide range of issues. Online Therapy also offers several advantages over in-person therapy, including convenience and greater access to care. (See these sources for more information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5723163/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662387/)
Don’t you miss important interactions you get face to face?
While there are certainly differences than in-person therapy, Online Therapy does not miss much. There is still face-to-face interaction and an ability for your therapist to notice non-verbal cues. Online Therapy also allows for a more focused conversation and your therapist is trained to be able to utilize Online Therapy in the most effective way possible. If after a couple of sessions you are still uncomfortable with the platform, your therapist can also help you find ways to engage and feel more at ease.
What equipment do I need?
To participate in Online Therapy appointments from your home, you will need one of the following devices:
- Desktop computer with a webcam and speakers OR
- Laptop computer with built-in webcam and speakers OR
- Tablet device with built-in webcam and speakers, OR
- Smartphone with at least iOS 10 or Android 7.0
(Note: To use a smartphone, you must first download Online Therapy by SimplePractice – available for iOS or Android in the app store.)
- You will also need an internet connection that supports streaming services. Note: We recommend using the Pre-call Tool to check your internet connection.
- Note: It is recommended that your desktop or laptop computer have at least a 2.5 GHz processor, and 4 GB of RAM
Do I have to download another app and have another login and password?
Not at all! Every session a new secure link is generated and sent to you. There is no need to log in, remember a password, or bookmark a specific website.
You can still schedule through our client portal but there is no need to log in to the portal for your Online Therapy session.
What is SimplePractice and can they be trusted?
SimplePractice, LLC the practice management software used by Mathews Counseling, PLLC for scheduling, case management, and Online Therapy, and therapy notes. SimplePractice, LLC, uses a HIPAA compliant software so your information will be securely stored and kept confidential. They use all of the most up to date security protocols, as well as encryption software that keeps your Online Therapy session secure.
Will the appointments be recorded?
None of our appointments will ever be recorded or stored.
Can couples therapy be done via Online Therapy?
Yes! Couples therapy can be done via Online Therapy and, in fact, we have seen great success with our couples through this format. For some people, it may take a little time to get use to the format but within a session or two, most forget the computer is even there.
Is Online Therapy more expensive than in-person therapy?
In the vast majority of cases, no. If you are a self-pay client, you will see no change in fee. If you utilize your insurance, it will depend on your plan. Most plans offer Online Therapy benefits similar to in-person therapy and most clients pay the same co-pay.
Please note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of insurance providers are expanding Online Therapy benefits for all of their plans.
How should I prepare my space for a Online Therapy appointment?
- Identify a suitable room that is quiet, private, and free of distractions.
- To keep background noise to a minimum, make sure to close any doors, shut windows, turn off the television, and keep loud pets in another room if possible.
What should I do if I didn’t get a reminder with the link?
Contact our office or email your therapist if you did not get the link and they can send it to you via email or secure messaging.
Tips for success
- We recommend joining the video appointment a few minutes early to test your settings.
- If you can connect to the Internet, but are having trouble joining the video, you can use our recommended Pre-call Tool.
- To use a smartphone to join a video chat, you must first download the Online Therapy by SimplePractice app available in the app store for iOS or Android.
- If you need to cancel or have questions about the appointment, please contact our office.
- For individuals, using headphones during the call is highly recommended.