September 9, 2022 by Jodi Palensky, Ph.D.
Teletherapy is a great way to connect with a clinician from the comfort of home. Here’s a closer look at the teletherapy counseling process.
Are you interested in counseling but can’t easily find the time for the appointment plus the time it takes for getting ready, traveling to the appointment and parking? Or are there barriers that make it challenging for you to attend appointments in person? Teletherapy counseling could be a more convenient or comfortable solution for you.
Teletherapy is a new form of online counseling that allows you to talk to a licensed therapist virtually. All you need is an internet connection and the time—typically 30 or 60 minutes—scheduled for the appointment.
Our teletherapy brings a specialized treatment approach focused on guiding you as you heal, grow and re-engage with your life following a catastrophic injury. Below, we explain how this process works and how to prepare for your first teletherapy session.
The Intake Interview
The first time you meet with a therapist, they’ll ask you a series of questions. You may be asked to fill out a form prior to your first appointment. Some therapists also do an intake interview before your first official session.
Your answers will give your therapist insight to how your mental health impacts you now and what your therapy goals will be. It’s important to remember that your therapist is not here to judge you; these compassionate experts are ready to help you improve your well-being. A thorough assessment makes it possible to develop an individualized plan of care based on your goals.
Privacy and Informed Consent
You will also receive information on your privacy rights. Counselors are held to a specific code of ethics and must maintain strict confidentiality.
The counselor will also walk you through informed consent information. Counselors cannot perform any treatments on you without your consent. You can change your consent at any time in the process and for any reason.
Common treatments include post-concussive treatment, family-centered therapy and counseling, coping and adjustment after a life-changing event, cognitive behavioral therapy and treatment for emotional health and wellness.
Your counselor’s approach will depend on their theoretical orientation and your particular needs. Each counselor receives professional training in all the major types of therapy.
Talk therapy is an integral part of most therapy methods and tools. In fact, it’s been a hallmark of therapy ever since Sigmund Freud started using it as part of psychoanalytic therapy more than a century ago.
In talk therapy, the counselor will encourage you to talk about your concerns honestly and openly. If you’re feeling nervous about addressing an issue, you can approach it slowly and gradually. A good therapist will not push you to share information you’re uncomfortable disclosing. At the same time, the more forthcoming you are, the more information the therapist has to help you.
You can expect your therapist to listen and be caring and thoughtful, but they may also challenge you to consider other perspectives or think in new ways.
Talk therapy conducted via teletherapy can be a fantastic option for people who need to talk about a life-changing medical event, but who have difficulty leaving or choose not to leave their home for an appointment. This at-home therapy makes it more accessible to everyone.
The Importance of Finding the Right Therapist
Teletherapy counseling activities will be more effective if the therapist is right for you. Research demonstrates that the most important ingredient to a successful counseling session is the relationship between the therapist and client.
Finding the right therapist is especially important for teletherapy activities to be successful. Most teletherapy features talk therapy. Just like you don’t necessarily “click” with every person you meet, you may find that you and a therapist are not an ideal match. If this happens, you can rest assured that you will have the option to switch to another therapist who suits you better.
As therapeutic practices progressed in the mid-20th century, therapists began to shift toward incorporating behavioral techniques into their work. Behavioral therapy teaches that we can change our feelings about ourselves by changing our behaviors. Behavioral therapists help clients learn ways to cope with their emotions. For instance, someone with moderate anxiety might learn calming breathing patterns to help them stay focused.
Aaron T. Beck developed cognitive therapy as behavioral therapy was becoming popular. Beck held that everyone holds false beliefs about themselves, some of which hurt us to the point of needing therapy. He used talk therapy to help people work through these faulty beliefs.
His approach later merged with behavioral therapy to become cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is the most common approach in teletherapy today. Counselors who use it combine talk therapy with behavior-based techniques.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for stroke survivors experiencing depression.
Your therapist will likely give you tasks to work on in between your sessions. These exercises will help you take what you’re learning in therapy and apply it to your everyday life.
If you’re uncomfortable completing your homework, your therapist can work with you to modify the homework so it can be useful in your therapy.
Working through your problems can cause you to face uncomfortable emotions. However, this is often a sign of progress; it means that you’re willing to process things that may have become obstacles in your life. After a period of time, these feelings should subside and you can expect to feel better.
If you find any part of the process challenging, your therapist can work through those feelings with you.
Ready for Teletherapy Counseling?
The majority of patients who participate in teletherapy feel it is beneficial. Therapy can be especially powerful for those who have experienced a catastrophic injury. The right therapist will seek to understand the effects of your injury and help you process your feelings related to what caused it. They’ll also assist you with re-engaging with your life.
Ready to take advantage of teletherapy? Contact us today to learn more about our services!