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Five Misconceptions About Teletherapy

September 30, 2020

During these times of social distancing, teletherapy offers many benefits--one of the main one’s being you can access telehealth from anywhere. Unfortunately, as is the case with in-person psychotherapy, there continues to be a stigma around seeking mental health services. It is important to note that people seek out therapy for many reasons, from depression and anxiety, to support for more mild stress and life stressors, to a simple desire to engage in deep self-exploration. No matter the reason for seeking help, working with a therapist can be enormously helpful. Here are some common misconceptions about teletherapy that prevent people from reaching out and getting the help they would like:

1. Only people with severe mental health issues need or benefit from talk therapy.

One common misconception about therapy is that it is only for people who suffer from serious mental illnesses, and this is not the case. Many who pursue therapy are dealing with a brief period of amplified stress in their lives, grieving a loss, setting new goals for a happier and more successful life, or just looking to have a better relationship with themselves and those around them.

Therapy can be beneficial in a multitude of situations. Oftentimes, people see therapy as a way of “fixing” something. In actuality, therapy can be about empowerment, expanding your capacity to understand emotions, and a desire for greater self-awareness. Therapy can certainly be a treatment for specific conditions and stressors, but it can also be a journey you engage in for self-exploration and growth.

2. Teletherapy is less effective than in-person therapy

Research has found that for most mental health issues and concerns, teletherapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. In fact, patients often report feeling more satisfied with telehealth due to the flexibility and privacy connecting from your own space provides. For some people who suffer from conditions such as Agoraphobia or Social Phobia, teletherapy provides a much-needed way to receive help.

Teletherapy may also allow you to keep a more regular schedule with your therapist. If you are someone who is busy balancing a hectic schedule, you may be more likely to commit to a virtual telehealth session rather than an in-person one, which requires commute time, etc.

3. Teletherapy isn’t secure and won’t protect my confidentiality

Many people understandably worry about their privacy in psychotherapy. While it is true that telehealth services do carry a risk of potential internet hacking, it is important to also know that HIPAA-secure virtual platforms have been developed specifically to ensure your confidentiality and privacy. Solid virtual platforms provide a BAA--a Business Associate Agreement--a legal document that requires all parties to adhere to HIPAA guidelines. This helps safeguard your personal information. Just make sure you are using a password protected internet connection in a quiet, private space!

4. I won’t be able to connect personally with my therapist using teletherapy

If anything, the opposite has been found to be true during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many in-office therapists who necessarily transitioned to teletherapy report feeling the sessions are more intimate. Patients also report often feeling more deeply connected to their therapists because of the close nature of video conferencing. Everyone is different, and there are certainly people who do better with in-person therapy, but if you are interested, you might find you enjoy the experience and are able to form a deep therapeutic relationship.

5. My insurance won’t cover teletherapy

This is a myth that, especially today, is largely untrue. Almost all major health providers cover virtual telehealth services. Most insurance companies cover telehealth sessions just as they would in-person services. Most states have requirements that private insurance companies cover telehealth services. Of course, it is always important to check in with your particular provider, but telehealth services are only growing in popularity making it likely your insurance will cover the cost.

If you’re interested in seeing what teletherapy can offer you, book an appointment with one of our 700+ licensed psychologists today.

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