Telehealth for therapists has exploded over the last year as more and more mental health providers switched to digital services. While the change was initially due to the pandemic and the need to create a safe environment to continue seeing clients, many providers are sticking with it. For those looking to continue their use of telehealth for therapists, understanding how to apply Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in an online session is vital to ensuring the success of the client. There are a lot of opportunities found in the use of telehealth when used effectively.
The Power of Telehealth for Therapists
Telehealth for therapists has changed the landscape of mental health care for eternity. While this tool was first developed quite some time ago, many software vendors have perfected its application over time. With the right software partner, telehealth for therapists can truly be something that enables providers to scale and grow.
The power of telehealth for therapists is that it eliminates harsh barriers to mental healthcare for a huge number of clients during and after the pandemic. It gets rid of the need to physically travel to and from appointments, it can be more affordable depending on the client’s coverage, and it is certainly more convenient for those who lead busy lives. Telehealth makes mental healthcare an attainable service for those who do not have access to in-person care.
Offering Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Online:
Actually transitioning from in-person visits to online telehealth for therapists does have its challenges. While the benefits make these challenges well worth it, providers need to be adequately prepared if they wish to offer CBT services online.
Providers need to make sure they are utilizing HIPAA compliant software when offering virtual services. Some of the standards for secure software have loosened due to the pandemic, but old standards will return as soon as it is over. A common problem that many therapists are facing is that they quickly adopted software that met pandemic standards but will have to change what software they use after it is safe to see clients in person again. This is a costly mistake that can be avoided if the software you choose is 100% reliable from the start. Providers should choose telehealth for therapists that will meet industry standards before and after the pandemic.
Once you have found a partner that will ensure the safety and protection of your client’s information while you offer online visits, offering CBT online can be a great process. Telehealth for therapists actually empowers greater comfort and relaxation for anxious clients that they might not feel in-person.
CBT Techniques for Telehealth:
Cognitive reframing is a traditional CBT technique that providers can apply in telehealth for therapists. This technique involves identifying situations, emotions, experiences, events, and concepts that a client views one way, and finding different perspectives for the client to view these matters. Cognitive reframing challenges a client’s line of thinking and transitions them to a new way of viewing something.
Another commonly used CBT technique to use in telehealth for therapists is guided discovery. This intervention involves helping a client reflect on how they currently process information and work their way through situations. It is done by asking the client questions that empower them to hear their own responses and work through those details until they reach a new conclusion on their own. That conclusion is not decided by the therapist, but by the client. This technique is easily applied online as it would be in-person.
Exposure assignments involve gradually “exposing” a client to situations or objects that present anxiety or fear in their life. This might be slightly more difficult since you are not there in person to walk them through it, but can still be offered as an effective CBT technique during telehealth for therapists. This CBT intervention should be done with caution over a long period of time adhering to the client’s comfort level.
Mindfulness has been a major buzzword during the pandemic as many individuals are facing what feels like 100 different “once-in-a-lifetime experiences” all at one time. Mindfulness-based CBT therapy involves the combination of CBT, medication, and self-reflection to process situations, anxiety, depression, and more. It can successfully be applied through telehealth for therapists in appropriate situations.
Telehealth for therapists is not going anywhere, even when the pandemic is over. Implementing a quality teletherapy solution can actually empower a provider to eliminate barriers to care, create a safe and comforting atmosphere for their clients, and continue empowering and growing client mental health.