Teletherapy for people with anxiety and OCD can be very helpful to both you and your client. So why aren’t you doing it? You may recognize some of the fears I had before embracing this new way of therapy. First, I didn’t really know where to begin. Then a representative from Highmark BC/BS came to our office and told us they will now pay for teletherapy and said SecureVideo.com is one website that is HIPPA compliant. I didn’t do anything with that information for awhile. Then a client was going to be going away for awhile and asked if they could check in through their phone. I knew insurance companies did not reimburse for phone calls but I suggested we try teletherapy and said I would need to face my own fears about technology and doing something new. We both laughed. Now I had to figure out which website to use and how to do it. I went ahead with SecureVideo.com. I called the representative, cursing myself for getting into this in the first place. Of course, the representative was exceptionally nice and took me through, step by step, how to use their HIPPA compliant program by downloading VSee. They make it very easy to do this as the cue to download this program pops up when you go onto the site. I also learned that they email you and your client to sign up for the video session and then send a reminder email the day of your session. A built in secretary! What more could one ask for?
Our first session went quite well except for the few technology bumps. I could hear feedback from my voice whenever I talked-very annoying. Sometimes the screen froze. Also very annoying. Eventually we worked through these glitches by adding headphones, sometimes a microphone, and always a dose of patience. I realize that the glitches in technology are very similar to the glitches in our anxious brains. If we see these obstacles as impassable mountains, we’ll give up, never to know that teletherapy has many advantages in anxiety treatment. If we instead see the obstacles as something we can climb over then we start asking for help, reading up on it, and becoming creative in our solutions. All of that can be stressful, but the end result is really fantastic. Here are just a few of the benefits to using telehealth for anxiety and OCD:
1. Being able to do exposures in the places where our clients get triggered.
2. Connecting with kids and teens through technology-their primary mode of communication.
3. Seeing clients who don’t have transportation to your office or who live in remote areas and don’t have access to evidenced based treatment for their disorder.
4. Decreased cancellations or no shows when a client doesn’t have transportation to your office.
Come to the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundations annual conference to hear Kimberly and her colleagues discuss this topic in more depth. https://iocdf.org/programs/conference/
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