Addiction Recovery

What Is Teletherapy and How Does It Work?

What Is Teletherapy and How Does It Work?

Teletherapy is an emerging form of therapy that can help anyone struggling with face-to-face contact. Learn more in our blog!

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, teletherapy and other remote medical services have expanded. This is mostly out of necessity for social distancing and the overall convenience of being able to complete easier tasks virtually.

Virtual forms of therapy, medical checkups, and drug rehab are most likely here to stay because of the accessibility for more people. For example, people who live in more rural areas may have a harder time finding a drug rehab. Similarly, not everyone has access to transportation, so having the option of virtual therapy is a lot less of a hassle. 

What Is Teletherapy? 

Teletherapy is a virtual treatment option offered by certified therapists, either on the phone or through a video call. It's an emerging form of addiction treatment that's helpful for many. Patients and therapists can interact in the same way they would in person, just through a phone or a screen. The same laws and regulations, such as HIPAA, apply to virtual therapy sessions to ensure that patient privacy is maintained. 

To participate and ensure that you complete teletherapy successfully, it is important to access a private area where you know no one will be listening and there will be no interruptions. It is also important that you have access to reliable Wi-Fi and a phone, laptop, or tablet.

This is one of the downfalls of teletherapy because not everyone has access to these things. For example, people who live in a home with children or roommates may find it hard to make a quiet place to have the session. 

The Differences Between Video and Phone Therapy

There are two different kinds of virtual therapy: phone-based and video-call based. The latter is usually done through apps such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Different therapists and clients may have different preferences for which to use.

Since therapists observe the body language of a patient in addition to what they are saying, most therapists prefer being able to see the patient with video calls rather than just hearing their voice on phone calls. 

Some Limitations of Teletherapy 

Over the past few years, there has been a growing market for teletherapy, which has up and downsides in the world we live in today. The Telebehavioral Health Institute (TBHI) explains on their “What Is Teletherapy” page that in the second quarter of 2021, teletherapy services represented 40% of investments in telehealth, which was estimated to be about 15 billion dollars in 2021. 

These numbers can become a problem because of the potential for unwanted investors attracted to this field, who only care about generating more revenue and less about the quality of care given to the patients and the protections of the clinicians.

People say a lot with non-verbal cues. Fidgety hands, a bouncing leg, and lack of eye contact can all be clues to help therapists know what's going on in a client's mind. As mentioned above, teletherapy doesn't always allow these things to come across, which can weaken the effectiveness of the sessions.

Benefits of Teletherapy for Clients

Just like anything else, teletherapy has both pros and cons, especially with being a newer form of treatment. One of the biggest benefits of teletherapy is its accessibility to more people. Therapy is something that everyone can benefit from, and having more options to access it is always a great thing. 

This form of therapy also offers greater flexibility for the client because it is much easier to attend therapy when sessions can be scheduled based on when the patient is available. Having virtual therapy can also help reduce anxiety around going to a therapy session because participants can attend from the comfort of their own homes. 

Benefits of Teletherapy for Therapists

In the same way that there are benefits for the clients, there are also several benefits to therapists as well. Having the option to take clients online is much more flexible and allows for a much easier work-life balance. This is because therapists can dedicate as much or as little time as they would like to see their clients.

They are also working from the comfort of their own home, making it more comfortable and easier to simply log off as soon as they're done with work. 

In the same way that virtual therapy can make the client feel safer, it can also have this effect on the therapists. When taking on a new patient in person, there are always risks. Having this virtual form of therapy from the start is a great way for the therapist and client to get to know each other when gauging whether they're a match and if they should continue the client-therapist relationship, virtually or otherwise.

Conclusions About Teletherapy

In the end, therapy, whether in-person or online, is never a one-size-fits-all approach. The effectiveness of teletherapy varies depending on the client. Each individual will react differently to this form of treatment for many reasons. The level of effort people put into virtual therapy will also affect the outcomes they notice later on. Participating in therapy is always a good investment in oneself and one's well-being.

Explore Your Therapy Options at The Edge Treatment Center

Having the courage to seek help at any point in your life is a brave decision that can sometimes feel confusing. This is especially true in the world we live in today, with all of the options and locations for treatment available to choose from.

However, The Edge Treatment Center is here to help you understand the best options for you and the ways that you can approach therapy to ensure success. We have professionals available to guide you in answering any questions or concerns you may have about therapy.

Take the first step today and contact The Edge Treatment Center today.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Addiction Recovery

July 27, 2022