Traveling, sometimes long distances, to meet with your therapist is no longer what going to therapy has to be about.

Today, therapy is becoming more accessible with online counseling and has been found to be just as effective.  

Here we will explore what exactly online counseling is, why it is becoming the norm, what to expect, and why it can be a great option for you.

What is Teletherapy?

Goode and Shinkle (2019) created the following definition for teletherapy:

“Teletherapy is the online delivery of speech, occupational, and mental health therapy services via high resolution, live video conferencing.”

Teletherapy, also known as video therapy or online video counseling is therapy conducted through a HIPPA compliant virtual platform the same way you would Skype, Zoom, or Facetime.  However, it is more secure and instead of talking with a friend, relative or co-worker, you are talking with a therapist.

While teletherapy is becoming more popular today, it has actually been around since the 1990s and is considered to be a highly effective method to deliver therapy.

Research does support that

is just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy.

Is teletherapy effective?

The effects of teletherapy have been researched since the early 2000s. Overall, the research does support that teletherapy is just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy.

Wagner, Horn, and Maercker (2013) explored the benefits of teletherapy for supporting patients diagnosed with depression. Sixty-two patients were randomly assigned to two groups – one receiving teletherapy and the other receiving more traditional face to face therapy. The patients received eight sessions each, and at the end of their sessions, the group who received teletherapy showed a slightly higher percentage of reporting fewer depressive thoughts and feelings. After three months, the teletherapy group continued to report a decrease in depressive thoughts and feelings, compared to those treated traditionally who reported a minimal decrease.

Can Couples and Family Therapy use teletherapy?

Yes! And they can even do it from separate locations at the same time.

Are teletherapy sessions private?

Therapists are ethically and legally bound, by privacy laws, to not share details about their teletherapy sessions, just as with face-to-face sessions. Therapists must ensure they are in a private and secure room before engaging in any teletherapy sessions. Sessions should not be recorded or shared, unless with explicit agreement from the client. It is up to the client to ensure they conduct their end of the session in an equally private area to ensure their own confidentiality.  Additionally, I strongly encourage my clients to turn off all listening devices such as Alexa (echo), Siri, Nest, Google home, Facebook portal, Sonos, baby monitors etc.

In terms of the security of the software used, I use specialized software that is fully encrypted, offering a high level of security and privacy. Any software that therapists use for telepsychology must be approved by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This is legislation that ensures data privacy and security for safeguarding medical information, including therapy.

What are the key benefits of teletherapy?

Convenience & Flexibility: Time is our most precious resource.  With that in mind, commutes can be frustrating and stressful especially with rush hour traffic and unexpected closures, which can lead to anxiety and added stress about being late or missing any part of your therapy time.  Also, you eliminate the need to find a babysitter, take time off work, and it’s typically much easier to coordinate your schedule with your partner should you be coming together. 

With teletherapy you do not have to leave the comfort of your home! 

You may also have access to hours that are more accommodating to your personal/work schedule.  Couples may even conduct therapy from separate locations at the same time to accommodate busy schedules.

Additional benefits of online therapy:

Reduce Wait Times & No More Waiting Rooms: Without having to drive to an office you eliminate any possibility of getting lost on your way there, finding parking, finding the office, and sitting anxiously in the waiting room waiting for your name to be called.  Teletherapy is usually in the comfort of your own home with all the things that make you feel at ease.

Increased Privacy: Teletherapy ensures maximum privacy every time.  Especially working with teens, I have found that my clients manage to know one another.  With social media everyone is connected and while I do help clients, especially teens find the positive in these interactions, teletherapy removes this concern altogether.

Safety: The New Jersey weather can be very volatile.  In 2018 New Jersey was hit with a snow storm that shut down the entire state causing commuters to take up to 9 hours to get home.  Even heavy rainstorms can be cause for concern especially if you have a teen driving.  However, such concerns are eliminated with teletherapy.

COVID-19: In the wake of COVID-19, many people do not feel comfortable conducting in person sessions.  Teletherapy allows clients the ability to continue to work on their goals and make progress.  It is a safe option for both the client and therapist.

Access to providers:  Even if you do not live in the area, teletherapy affords you the ability to still see the clinician of your choice.  There is no need to drive an hour to see the provider who specializes in what you are looking for.  

Teletherapy also provides greater options for college students living on college campuses.  Campus counseling centers tend to be backed up and students often to do not feel comfortable in the center for fear of being seen by their friends.  Teletherapy offers an extra layer of privacy as well as not worrying about transportation hassles that students can fit into their already busy schedules.

Online Therapy for New Jersey Residents

I am available for online individual therapy sessions for adults and teens, online couples counseling, anxiety and depression, and other issues.  My online video counseling services are only available to residents of New Jersey.  

Start online therapy today!