Pros and Cons of Telehealth

What is Telehealth and why should I try it?  There are many advantages to seeing your therapist online, and they begin with convenience.  Seeing your therapist online means being able to have your session in the privacy of your home or office, where you control the environment to support your own comfort.  It means not having to drive in inclement weather, or when you're just too tired from the day to make the drive.  It means relaxing in your own home or office at the end of the day, and not having to rush through traffic to get dinner on the table, only to have to rush out again for your therapy appointment. It means privacy - not worrying whether someone you know will see you entering or leaving a therapist's office.  It means not having to pay a late-cancel fee when you, you partner or child, etc, gets sick and you have to stay home to care for them.  You may not need to take a break from therapy when you're recovering from illness or injury, experiencing temporary (or permanent) mobility issues, or acting as primary caregiver for someone who is housebound.  Maybe telehealth means you get up in the morning and grab your cup of tea or coffee and have your therapy session in your PJs, before heading off to work, feeling uplifted and encouraged. 

 

Of course, there are disadvantages, also.  For the therapist, the main disadvantage is that by not being in the same room with the client. We try to address this by asking additional questions about physical state, eg, foot tapping, eating habits, hand wringing, hygiene, fidgeting. For the client, disadvantages might include missing out on being in the same room as the therapist, the inability to pay by cash or check, or having a difficult time finding a quiet, private space to have your telehealth session.  On the other hand, advantages for client include more flexible scheduling, not having to commute to therapist’s office, no parking issues, and being able to see any therapist who is licensed anywhere in your state. 

There are some factors to consider to determine if online therapy is a good fit for you. For example, do you have access to a quiet, private space where you can be undisturbed during your session? If not, earbuds or headphones can help to mitigate this. Do you have good wifi? You will want to be connected to a reliable, secure wifi connection.  Are you at risk for suicide, overdose, or self-injurious behaviors?  You will need to have an ongoing conversation with your therapist about a well-developed Safety Plan. Are there physical mannerisms or tics that the therapist will miss because of only seeing your upper body?  You may need to be seated further from the camera so your therapist can view you in full. These are important to consider in evaluating how to make online therapy work for you.

If the thought of being able to see a therapist online is appealing to you, contact me for a free, initial consultation.

 

Have more questions about telehealth?  Call me at (609) 248-0536 or email me at: Lina@CounselingForResilience.com

Pros and Cons of Insurance

Advantages of using insurance to pay for therapy are obvious:  the insurance company will usually pay some or all of your fees.  Simple right?  Well, not exactly.  Insurance companies have fine print which reads: "approval for services is no guarantee of payment".  They may report that the client has a deductible that needs to be satisfied before they will pay, or there may be a larger copay for behavioral health than for physical healthcare.

 

Disadvantages of using insurance do exist.  Working with insurance companies, therapists are required to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan following the initial session, when client and therapist are just getting to know one another.  This diagnosis becomes part of your medical record which can become a privacy issue for some individuals.  With self-pay, therapists can get to know the client first, and develop a diagnosis and treatment plan after getting to know the client better, and do not have to report the diagnosis to anyone.

Insurance companies will not provide coverage for all conditions, so if your therapist does not diagnose you with a “covered condition” your insurance company doesn’t have to pay.  Depending on your policy, you may be restricted in the number of sessions you can have in a calendar year.  Also, as an insurance client, you are limited to therapists in your insurance network, and you may have to satisfy a deductible and co-insurance before insurance will pay any of your fees.

 

So, what about self-pay? 

 

Advantages to self-pay include having your privacy is protected, being able to see a therapist of your choosing, and being able to decide together with your therapist what treatment to use and how long and how often to meet. Your therapist does not have to provide any information about your treatment to your insurer, or to anyone else (with a few legal exceptions [feel free to ask me about these]).  Also, clients who pay out of pocket tend to be more motivated to see results sooner and often invest themselves (no pun intended!) more fully in their therapy.

 

Have more questions about self-pay?  Call me at (609) 248-0536 or send a message to Lina@CounselingForResilience.com