FAQs about Teletherapy
What is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is therapy provided over a secure video link or a telephone connection instead of in an office.
What are the benefits of Teletherapy?
- Teletherapy minimizes the inconvenience of travel time and associated costs. Things like rain, traffic, getting childcare, and so on can make traveling even short distances annoying. In addition, clients from anywhere in California can still meet with me by teletherapy.
- The benefits of teletherapy are supported by research. Research has found that video therapy is as effective as in-person therapy. And thanks to a highly secure connection, our sessions will remain private.
- Many major insurance companies cover teletherapy appointments. The billing summary (“superbill”) I issue generally meets the billing requirements for plans that support teletherapy.
- Teletherapy requires no special technical skills. All you need is a computer, smart phone, or tablet with a microphone, camera, browser, and Internet or cell phone access.
How does Teletherapy work?
When the time for your appointment arrives, log into my secure Online Appointment Room: https://doxy.me/counselingforaction
When you open this link, the software will ask you to enter your name. You’ll then be in an online “waiting room” until I start our appointment. This waiting room also prevents anyone else from “crashing” your appointment. There’s also a “pre-call test” button you can use to make sure your video and audio are working properly.
All you need to participate are:
- a browser on a computer, tablet, or smartphone that has a camera, a microphone, and an Internet link
- a private, well-lit area
- Internet access
You can use a cell phone data plan or hotspot if you don’t have easy access to another Internet link; but be aware of data charges from your phone plan.
How can I make the most of my teletherapy appointment?
- Make sure you have privacy. A separate room with a closed door is best. But if you don’t have access to that, then sitting in a safely parked car or sitting outdoors away from other people can provide you the physical and emotional space to dive deep during your session.
- Attend to your physical comfort. A comfortable chair with a good angle for viewing your screen and good light on your face (from the side, not behind you) helps make a productive therapy space.
- Have things you need or want nearby. I recommend tissues and a cup of water as the basics. But consider: what makes you feel comfortable? Do you want your journal? A sketchbook? Scratch paper for notes? Your list of things you thought of during the week and said, “I should talk to K’Ailsa about that”? A stuffed animal? A worry stone? A pillow or a weighted blanket? Your pet? Bring what helps you.
- Give yourself the gift of time. When you travel to a therapist’s office, the travel time provides an automatic break between your regular life and therapy. It’s a good idea to give yourself a break like this before and after your teletherapy session, too. So try to end your work or other obligations a few minutes before your therapy starts, with time for a break. And whenever you can, give yourself a little time after your session to stretch, take a walk, or journal, and start to integrate the material from your session before you dive back into your daily life.
What if I have problems accessing the Online Appointment Room?
The software I use is generally very reliable. The vast majority of appointments proceed with no trouble. Nevertheless, like all tech, there can be problems with the connection. So here are some tips just in case.
- If you are having trouble logging into the Online Appointment Room, phone or text me at (408) 390-3680, and we will troubleshoot the problem together.
- If I don’t “arrive” and start our appointment within a few minutes of our start time, you can phone or text me to check in, just like you’d knock on my door for an in-person appointment.
- If we get disconnected, reload the Online Appointment Room page and try to re-connect. If that doesn’t work, restart your browser and try again.
- After you reload your browser, use the “pre-call test” button to let the software check out your video and audio.
- If our connection drops and you don’t return, I’ll try to phone or text you at your number on file so we can troubleshoot.
- If you’re in the room, but your signal is breaking up, try using the secure text feature of the appointment software to text me.
- If the sound signal is delayed or the video freezes up, wait a moment to see if it resolves. If the problem doesn’t resolve quickly, try turning off your video (click the Camera icon on the page). This may improve our sound connection.
- It’s rare, but if we are unable to complete our appointment online, we can switch to a phone connection.