COVID-19 Update: I have openings in May for in-person, video or phone sessions. I use a secure online video platform called OnCall Health.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic social distancing measures, therapists are meeting with clients virtually through video chat or by phone. If this is the first time you are engaging in video/phone sessions, you might have questions or concerns. This information can help you prepare yourself for virtual or phone sessions.
Video/Phone Session is an Effective Form of Therapy
Numerous research studies, including one published by the World Journal of Psychiatry, suggest that video/phone sessions are at least as effective as in-person therapy. Virtual sessions enable you to receive support in the midst of social distancing and self-quarantine restrictions. You can expect sessions to be as helpful as if the therapist was meeting with you in person.
Video/Phone Session is a Small Adjustment for Most Clients
If you are familiar with video chats or video conferencing (Skype, FaceTime, Google Hang Outs), you will find the adjustment to video/phone relatively easy. If you do not like communicating through a screen, or have never tried it, you might find it challenging. Once you understand how the technology works, you might need some time to get comfortable with the idea of talking to your therapist virtually. You can explore any discomfort or awkwardness you may feel about this method of communication, your concerns about what will be different during sessions, and other issues you may have with your therapist.
Most Insurance Will Cover Video/Phone Session During the Pandemic
If you are concerned whether your insurance will cover therapy, double-check with your insurance provider. Video/Phone sessions are covered for all clients receiving counselling during the pandemic, regardless of whether your therapist and you live in the same province.
Preparing Logistically for Your Video/Phone Session
• I use the OnCall Health platform which is fee-based and will not require you to upload special software. It is simple and secure virtual care. Thousands of Canadian healthcare providers trust OnCall to expand and improve access to their services.
• You will need to test system requirements before your sessions to ensure the video platform will work on your computer or devices, including microphone and camera functions.
• Find a place in your home where you have privacy and little interruption. This is especially important for clients with children and/or pets.
• During sessions, I request that you close your email and turn off distracting notifications. Also close programs that slow the computer's processing ability and interfere with the video quality.
The Use of Therapeutic Homework Assignments Between Video/Phone Session
• Therapeutic homework assignments are tasks that you will work on between sessions. Homework is considered to be an important component in most evidence-based therapies, and it is a cost-effective way of increasing the impact of treatment. I will email the PDF documents.
• By using the time between sessions, your completion of homework assignments increases time spent engaging in exercises designed to generalize and transfer in session treatment gains. Engaging in skill-building daily tasks allows you to acquire insight – and you are more likely to view yourself as a proactive instead of “passive” recipient of therapy. Adherence to homework assignments might actually increase your sense of mastery, self-efficacy, and optimism about treatment.