Preparing for Mental Health Teletherapy

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Finding mental health teletherapy

Teletherapy has been an accepted treatment modality for the last several years, but it has gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health counseling via teletherapy is particularly valuable because it provides access to treatment and convenience factors that are not available with traditional in-person therapy.

In addition to online mental health counseling, several other types of therapy can be made available on a telehealth platform:

  • Addiction counseling: Online addiction counseling is a great medium for those in recovery who are still looking for outpatient support. A teletherapist specializing in online addiction counseling can provide treatment and coping tools on a regular basis or whenever the client feels they need it most.
  • Family counseling: Many families have been working from home and attending school remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, all at the same time, all under the same roof. This can be a source of stress for parents and kids alike. Online family counseling is particularly valuable when families need therapeutic support but it may not necessarily be safe for them to attend family therapy sessions in person.
  • Psychiatry and medication management: Teletherapy allows clients to seek diagnosis and treatment for mental illnesses just as effectively as in-person psychiatry could. An additional bonus of using a teletherapy platform for medication management is, these types of appointments are often quite short. Teletherapy makes it easier for the client to fit an appointment into their busy day without having to worry about missing too much school or work, fighting to beat traffic and spending time in the waiting room.

No matter the type of teletherapy you are looking for, here are some tips to help you prepare for your first appointment:

The day before your appointment

  • Check your email from your therapist for any materials you might need to come prepared with. This commonly includes a list of past and present medications, family medical history, insurance paperwork and notes with any topics you want to bring up with your therapist.
  • Find a comfortable, quiet and private space for your appointment and set it up with everything you need: comfortable seating, a neutral background, good lighting, a charger for your phone or computer and a box of tissues, just in case. Just as if you were physically in your therapist’s office, only the two of you should be present for your online counseling appointment.
  • If you are concerned about your child, pet or roommate potentially interrupting your appointment, take preventative measures. Let those you share a house with know what time your appointment is, and if possible, ask your partner or a friend to take over childcare or petcare duties.
  • If your provider asks you to download a software program to facilitate a secure and confidential teletherapy appointment, do so beforehand and do a test run to ensure it will work when you log on.

The morning of your appointment

  • Test your equipment to make sure you can get the most out of your appointment. Using a video and microphone-enabled laptop or desktop is preferable to a mobile phone because they often have a more stable internet connection. Make sure your camera turns on and that both your microphone and speakers are functioning. If you are using headphones, double-check that they are compatible with your device.
  • Make sure your calendar is cleared shortly before, during and for a short time after your appointment. In addition to taking time for the appointment itself, you will want some extra time to prepare beforehand and decompress afterward.
  • Turn off notifications on your phone or email so that you don’t get distracted or pulled into another commitment before your appointment.

Ten minutes before your appointment

  • Get situated in the spot you have chosen for your appointment. If possible, close the door of the room to keep out external noise.
  • Go through your notes and make any last many additions so that you remember to bring up all of your questions and concerns during your appointment.
  • Take a few deep breaths. It is completely normal to feel nervous before therapy or teletherapy appointments, even if you know what you want to talk about. Remind yourself that you are seeking teletherapy to care for your mental health.
  • Check in to your appointment early and make sure your internet, audio and video are connected and functioning. You may have to wait in a virtual waiting room until your actual appointment time, but logging on early may help calm any technology-related nerves.

High Focus Centers is dedicated to providing structured outpatient substance abuse and psychiatric treatment programs, both in-person and through teletherapy. Reach out today at 800-877-3628 to learn more about your options for teletherapy-based mental health and substance abuse treatment.