The impact of this pandemic has shifted the everyday lives of us all. Suddenly, our daily routines are limited to the confides of our own home. It can feel as though we aren’t able to maintain our standards of living – grocery shopping, running errands, attending appointments, etc. Thankfully many therapists, including our therapists at Traverse, have implemented Telehealth services to ensure your continuity of care amidst this pandemic. What really is Telehealth?
Telehealth is a web-accessible platform for you to continue your therapy journey via confidential and HIPAA-compliant video conferencing.
Benefits to Telehealth
Access to Care – Teletherapy opens the door to services for individuals that do not access to transportation (or perhaps, sheltered in their own homes due to a pandemic). Suddenly, you can speak with your therapist from your own home or office without needing to pack up and travel to your therapist’s office. In addition, family members that live out-of-state can now be included in the therapy space via telehealth video conferencing.
Comfort – You can now have a therapy session from the comfort of your own home, or a space that feels safe and inviting for you. Our personal space is sacred. Entering into a therapeutic time may feel more comforting when it is done within the limits of your space.
Convenience – Teletherapy reduces the time before and after your appointments to travel to your therapist’s office. Now, you are able to grab your computer and log on to your therapist’s confidential web access to begin your session within the comfort of your own home.
Barriers of Using Telehealth
Technology Limits Intimacy – Part of what makes the therapeutic experience flourish is the relationship built between you and your therapist. I believe that true, deep connection is healthily built in the real. When we limit our relationships to be only online-based, we limit that ability to build intimate connections with others. Non-verbal language is integral to relationship building and therapy, and we unfortunately limit ourselves to that language when we use technology to communicate.
Limits of Technology – Technology itself has its own limitations. We may lose internet connection or your webcam or microphone may give out during a session. This may disrupt the therapeutic flow that you are in with your therapist, and may hinder the progress and support you’re hoping to gain within that space.
Confidentiality and Privacy – It is essential to keep in mind that the use of technology in your own space can limit the amount of confidentiality you are able to keep. If you choose to utilize telehealth while family members are home, be sure to place yourself in a room that is private with no one else in. Keep in mind that conversations could be overheard by other people in your home. When having a session, it would be important to ask the people around you
Resources for You and Your Family
Many crisis centers, shelters, and anonymous support groups are still available for you to utilize amidst the Shelter-in–Place Order. These services are deemed essential for individuals and families to use.
- Domestic and sexual violence programs and advocacy services are open and providing services
- Anonymous support groups such as, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous are utilizing online meetings to provide continuity of care
- Hennepin County provides a mobile crisis line
- Adults 18 and over: 612-596-1223
- Children under 18: 612-348-2233
This is a time of high anxiety and stress for us all. If you are experiencing unmanageable distress, know that there are confidential and HIPAA-compliant ways to access your therapist during this time. Please, do not wait until this phase of our lives is over to access necessary services for you and your family.
For more information on Telehealth from the Minnesota Department of Health, click here.