A new way of connecting with a mental health professional can be as simple as opening an app on your smartphone. With telehealth, you can meet with a psychologist at the time and place that suits you best – all from the comfort of your home or office. While this technology is fairly new, the evidence that telepsychology provides effective psychotherapy is growing. In fact, a recent study found that online therapy may be as effective as face-to-face sessions for some conditions.
The study looked at 12 randomized controlled trials, with 931 patients in aggregate, that compared telehealth psychotherapy to face-to-face treatment. The studies included cognitive behavioral and family therapies, treating conditions ranging from childhood mental health issues to addiction disorders. The telehealth sessions were delivered via video in 7 trials, telephone in 3 trials, and both telephone and video in one trial. The researchers also found that the risk of bias was low or unclear in all trials.
Psychology are adopting telehealth technology in their practice. In a survey of licensed psychologists by the American Psychology Association, nearly half reported that they currently provide some portion of their services via telecommunication technologies. In addition, most of those psychologists reported that they would like to increase the percentage of their practices that are conducted online in the future.
In addition to providing convenience for patients, telehealth can also help reduce costs and barriers to accessing psychological care. It can be difficult for people living in rural areas to find an in-person therapist, especially those with limited or no transportation options. Additionally, telehealth services can be less expensive than traditional office visits and are often covered by insurance.
Meeting with a telehealth psychologist can be a great option for people who have trouble making it to their local therapist’s office, or for people who travel frequently or need to work from home. It can also be helpful for people with anxiety, who find it easier to open up about their feelings through text or video chat.
A telehealth psychologist is a licensed professional who provides online therapy. While there are many options for virtual counseling, it’s important to choose a professional who is licensed in your state and has a strong background in treating mental health issues. You can check a psychologist’s license status by visiting your state licensing board website. Additionally, you can look for a telehealth psychologist who is HIPAA-compliant and uses secure video software to protect your privacy.
Some states have their own telepsychology programs, while others have not yet adopted this technology. For example, Georgia recently joined Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Nebraska and Missouri in becoming a member of PSYPACT. This interstate compact will promote collaboration among the states to standardize requirements for practicing psychology and make it easier to treat individuals who move between jurisdictions.