HIPAA Secure Video or Phone Counseling
I offer HIPAA secure video counseling online for individuals and couples, sometimes called teletherapy. Because the platform I use complies with federal health privacy regulations, you don’t have to worry about your confidentiality being compromised. Per my licensing regulations, I can offer online counseling for people located within the state of Texas and internationally. If you would like to see if online counseling might work for you, let’s schedule a free online video consultation with you to help you decide.
How Online TeleTherapy Works
I use HIPAA secure video conferencing service called Simple Practice. About 10 minutes before your appointment time, you will receive an email directing you to the video chat room. At your appointed session time, I will connect to you online. You will be able to see me on your screen, as well as a thumbnail showing you what I’m seeing.
Online therapy sessions are 50-55 minutes long and are charged at the same rate as in person sessions.
UPDATE: In response to the current situation, all sessions will be offered via video or phone.
Benefits of Online Counseling
Here are some ways that online counseling may actually work better for you than the traditional model of meeting in person:
- Larger selection of therapists – . The importance of finding the best therapeutic fit cannot be overstated. Study after study shows that the factor that matters most in determining therapeutic success is finding a therapist you like and trust, so it’s a great advantage to be able to cast a wide net and find the best fit for you.
- Ability to find a therapist that has expertise on your particular issue or is knowledgeable about your background. – Many of my clients come to see me because I have particular expertise in issues they’re struggling with and am open-minded and affirming of diversity. If you live outside the Austin area and think we could be a good fit, online therapy can be a great solution.
- Scheduling flexibility & Time-Saving – I once missed (and still had to pay for) an entire therapy session because there was an accident on the highway. Online counseling eliminates this worry. Babysitter cancelled and your child is old enough to entertain themselves, but too young to stay home alone? Have a head cold and don’t want to infect others, but still want to keep your appointment? No problem!
- Improved Anonymity/Avoiding Dual Relationships – In counseling, a “dual relationship” refers to having any other relationship (personal, business, etc.) with your therapist outside of your therapeutic relationship, or your therapist having close relationships with your immediate family members. Naturally, this is problematic and to be avoided if possible. In rural areas or small communities, however, dual relationships can be almost inevitable. Even larger cities can be smaller than you think. Teletherapy can eliminate these concerns.
- Ability to Participate in Couples/Family Counseling across Distances – Trying to schedule couples or family counseling can be so challenging, especially if one or more people in the group travel. Online counseling is a great option to bridge distances and help maintain regular therapeutic sessions.
Necessary Factors for Successful Online Video Counseling
While online counseling can be a wonderful option, for all the reasons listed above, there are some necessary elements in order for teletherapy to work well. Here is a list of some prerequisites:
- A quiet place to talk, free from distractions. You still want confidentiality and a dedicated time and space to meet, so trying to chase after a toddler or connecting in a public space aren’t going to work. Consider using headphones to improve both confidentiality and sound quality.
- Hi Speed Internet connection on a computer. Many of us are used to using Skype or FaceTime for video chat, but online counseling requires using a secure platform. The platform I use is VSee. VSee is free, but you do need to install the program.
- Alternative Plan in Case of Technical Difficulties– Even the most reliable internet service may fail occasionally, and it’s never convenient when it does. I use high speed Google fiber and have not experienced issues with connection as of yet. However, if there are any issues, I will call you and we will have a session via phone.
- Licensing Restrictions specific to the U.S. – In the United States of America, licensed therapists are restricted to practicing only in the states they are licensed in. I am a licensed clinical social worker in Texas, which means I can practice anywhere within the state of Texas, but I can’t do therapy with clients who are physically located in other U.S. states. I do work with clients internationally.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Online Counseling
Will you be at home in your pajamas during our video counseling session? No! I conduct all online counseling sessions at my office in order to give you my full and undivided attention, just as if you were here in person.
Is teletherapy as effective as in person sessions? It depends. Some people report that online counseling sessions are just as effective for them as in person sessions, and some people feel that they lose some sense of connection. People who are used to video chatting and connecting via technology are usually more comfortable with online counseling.
Will my insurance company reimburse me for online counseling? Different plans have different policies. Please contact your health insurance company directly to verify the benefits under your plan.
Can we do online counseling while I’m on vacation? Yes- if you have internet access and you are traveling within the State of Texas or internationally. Unfortunately, licensing rules prohibit me from providing online counseling if you are physically in another U.S. state.
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