We are in unique times with the current COVID-19 pandemic right now. As therapists, we are taking as much precaution as possible to flatten the curve and to keep you and our entire community safe. With that, we have transitioned to engaging in counseling sessions through “Telehealth online counseling” otherwise known as video counseling. This piece is to give you the low down on telehealth and to explain how online counseling can support you greatly through this pandemic – as well as all the other health and relational goals you would like to focus on.
What is Telehealth online counseling?
Telehealth online counseling involves using electronic communication to enable the therapists at Pax Family Counseling the ability to engage in counseling services virtually through either phone or video sessions. The use of Telehealth involves the following:
- Imaging of the client/s
- Live two-way audio and video
How do I do it? Do I need an app or a special program?
All you will need is a working device (ideally a computer or ipad). We then will send you a link to our “virtual office.” Simply click the link and we will meet you there at our scheduled appointment time.
Is it safe to do Online Counseling? Is it HIPAA compliant?
At Pax Family Counseling, we utilize HIPAA compliant software for our online counseling sessions. This means the platform we use includes protective measures to safeguard the data discussed during sessions and it ensures integrity against forms of corruption. Since there is such an abundance of people utilizing telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the HIPAA compliant systems are not working appropriately. Due to this, there are new waivers federally in place for healthcare professionals that allow them to use systems that are not HIPAA compliant in order to ensure continual care in the case that a system may not be working. Some of these other systems include Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp and Facetime.
Can we do couples counseling through Telehealth Online Counseling?
Yes and we love doing it! Couples simply sit together in the video screen and we proceed as usual with our work.
Why should I engage in Telehealth Online Counseling?
- Being quarantined very quickly can bring out the systemic issues that we all face personally, in our marriages, and with our families. Engaging in telehealth online counseling ensures that you are being proactive in facing these issues and that you are not waiting until they become a much larger pain point to manage. Imagine tending to the cut now, rather than trying to treat an infection. Proactive measures work.
- Just because we cannot leave our homes at this time does not mean our mental health or marriage should be put on the back burner. With so much unknown amidst the COVID-19 crisis, now is the time to make sure we are mentally healthy and our relationships are in a solid place.
- Online counseling is comfortable. You can be in the comfort of your home and still see your therapist. It is highly efficient and super accessible.
- We all need support, especially right now. Yes, even your therapist’s see therapist’s! That is how much we believe in the power of working with a trained professional counselor when life gets tough. There is no shame in getting help, in fact in demonstrates a tremendous amount of self-awareness and intelligence to act when help is needed. Therapy not only benefits you, but everyone around you as well.
To set up your first Telehealth Online Counseling session, contact us today!
-Written by Emily De La Torre, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA