When to use Telephone Counseling

With all the stay at home orders, many people suffering from mental illness have been putting off taking care of their mental health needs. Most don’t have the time or money to make an appointment. Some are just scared of leaving the house to go to the therapist’s office. Fortunately, we are lucky to have alternatives to take care of mental health needs with all the technology we have today. We have many options when it comes to online therapy to choose from – like telephone counseling, video conferencing, or text messaging.

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As we are forced to social distancing, these forms of telephone therapy counseling sessions are growing in popularity. We will discuss how telephone counseling is helping those struggling with mental health issues.

What is Telephone Counseling

Telephone counseling is the same form of counseling you would receive face to face in your counselor’s office; in this case, it’s a virtual session over the phone. Licensed therapy providers are embracing this new trend by engaging their clients when and where they need assistance. There are additional methods for online therapy, such as video conferencing or SMS messaging.

In a typical office setting, your therapist would schedule a one-hour session on a regular schedule. Online therapy sessions can be more flexible and allow for unscheduled sessions more readily since neither the client or therapist needs to travel. Having access to professional help 24/7 can be a lifesaver for many facing mental health issues. Clients who have non-traditional shifts or scheduling conflicts can work around these conflicts with more ease. 

Remember that telephone therapy services are not meant to replace counseling during a life-threatening episode, which does pose limitations on this form of counseling. Someone experiencing suicidal thoughts or under imminent harm should go to their local emergency room immediately or another type of face to face support.

Mental Health Therapy lends itself well to an online environment. Many common issues are perfect for this medium; some of these include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Food and eating issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Stress
  • Obsessions and compulsions (O.C.D.)
  • Parenting issues
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Finding the Right Telephone Counseling Provider

When it comes to picking an online therapist, be cautious when searching for a therapist as everyone advertising their services are not licensed. Ensure that the therapist you choose is a licensed professional, as an unlicensed provider could potentially provide ineffective treatment. As we have all seen the hacking abilities of nefarious individuals, your health care provider must be using technology to ensure that your personal information and private feelings are secure and follow HIPAA requirements to safeguard your conversations.   

An excellent place to check up on a potential therapist is to check out their website. Accessing their site will allow you to learn more about them and their methods, experience, and philosophy. Most therapists will publish their degrees and schools attended. You can also look up their license on the state website to ensure everything checks out before your first visit.

Is Telephone Counseling effective

The American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) conducted a study of the telephone counseling effectiveness, and found that 98% of member psychologists confirmed that they had done counseling by phone, with many professionals reporting that they use telephone counseling as their primary means of counseling. This study affirms that the use of the telephone in the delivery of mental health services is not only practical but universally used. In the end, it’s your choice and comfort level with this method of counseling; it can be more convenient and often less expensive.

Conclusion 

Many believe that online counseling is as effective as an office visit and would not go back to traveling to the office. As technology advances, it affords us the ability to make our lives a little simpler. For those with anxiety issues, just the fact that you do not have to prepare and drive to your doctor’s office can dramatically reduce your stress, thus immediately improving your life. As our lives become more complicated and full of responsibilities like driving the kids to all their extracurricular activities, having an alternative to visiting your therapist can be part of your solution. Not having to drive to the therapist’s office will reduce the number of tasks you have to complete on a given day, buying yourself some more time in your day. I hope you have enjoyed this article and are feeling more comfortable with these technologies.