Telehealth, also called online counseling, internet counseling or telemedicine, is quickly becoming a popular medium for individual therapy and couples counseling. This is due to improved technology, client convenience and reduced cost. I am happy to announce that I’m now able to offer online counseling to both former and new clients for individual therapy, couples counseling and premarital counseling.
What is Online Counseling and How Does it Work?
Online counseling is the same counseling you would get in my office, except it is done over video or telephone. The client chooses whether they want video or phone and they are free to alternate platforms from session to session depending on their desire. Video counseling is conducted online and doesn’t require the client to download any computer programs or sign up on any websites. Video counseling is extremely simple to initiate and is HIPAA secure and compliant guarding the client’s confidentiality. All is needed is high speed internet and a computer. I’ve even had clients use the video function over their smart phone because their computer battery died! Telephone counseling can be done via your cell phone or landline and gives clients a little more flexibility as far as location since they are not dependent upon internet. I prefer video for new clients and for couples because it allows me to form a better relationship with them and I can see visual cues.
What are the benefits and Limitations of Internet Counseling?
Internet counseling offers several benefits. One is reduced cost as compared to in-office counseling. My standard fee was $150 per session when I worked out of my San Diego office. With no overhead, I’m now able to offer the same therapy for $65 per session. Another benefit is increased convenience of setting up an appointment since clients no longer have a commute and aren’t tied to traditional office hours. Another benefit is the convenience of having session take place in the comfort of my clients’ own home.
The limitations of internet counseling center around possible interruptions caused by technological failures and reduced ability for me to see non-verbal cues from clients such as body language. I have found that after a relatively short period of time, the inability to observe some non-verbal cues is inconsequential because of the relationship formed between me and my client. Regarding interruptions caused by technological failure, this is very rare and has not been an issue.
What Does it Cost?
The fee for internet counseling is substantially lower than in-office therapy. Individual therapy and couples counseling is $65 per session and premarital counseling is $70 per session.
How Do I get Started?
First off, if you have any concerns or questions, feel free to call or email me and I’d be happy to spend some time answering any questions. If you want to make an appointment, you can do so through my online scheduler or call me and I can tell you my availability and make it for you. At that point, I’ll send you an email where you can access your private online portal. All paperwork is filled out through this HIPAA secure portal and forms are signed electronically. In addition, I’ll reach out to you before our appointment time to find out whether you are wanting video or telephone counseling and to introduce myself if we haven’t yet talked .