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Published on June 2, 2023

How Video Counseling is Being Used by Mental Health Providers (and What to Expect from Virtual Counseling)

Many people face challenges in accessing mental health support due to factors such as geographic location and mobility issues. Fortunately, advancements in technology have opened up new possibilities for mental health providers to offer help to those who need it most. 

Video therapy has emerged as an accessible and practical solution for connecting practitioners with their clients across distances. So today, we’ll have a look at what video therapy is, check out some pros and cons, and discuss how effective this practice really is.

What is Video Counseling?

Video counseling is also known as online therapy or teletherapy and is a method of providing mental health services through secure video conferencing platforms. The system is simple and accessible to anyone who has a phone and an internet connection. Also, it’s a great way for mental health providers to reach clients who may not be able to access traditional in-person sessions.

To understand how it works, imagine having a therapy session with your mental health provider over a secure video call platform. It allows you and your provider to connect face-to-face from the comfort of your chosen location using devices like smartphones, tablets, or computers. 

Video counseling works well for several types of sessions, such as individual therapy, marriage and family counseling, or group sessions for specific issues or support networks.

Like traditional therapy sessions, video counseling is designed to provide emotional support and guidance for individuals seeking help with various mental health concerns. And, unlike traditional therapy, video counseling is a lot more accessible and flexible in terms of scheduling. Plus, people in remote areas now have a way to connect with a mental health professional without having to travel dozens or hundreds of miles for a session.

Is it Safe from the Point of View of HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) sets strict standards for protecting patient data in the healthcare industry. So it’s only natural that patients and therapists will worry about the safety and confidentiality of what’s discussed during a therapy session that happens via the Internet.

This is why therapists use secure platforms, like Updox’s HIPAA-compliant video chat, designed for telehealth services. Also, patients will have to give their informed consent before starting any online therapy sessions. This involves explaining the risks associated with virtual communication, discussing potential limitations in confidentiality, and confirming their understanding and agreement.

So yes, video therapy sessions can be HIPAA compliant if your mental health provider selects an appropriate platform designed for telehealth purposes and obtains informed consent from their patients.

Is Video Counseling Effective (Pros & Cons)?

Do I really need to integrate video therapy sessions into my life? This is a valid question that many people interested in mental health ask.

In a nutshell, if you don’t feel comfortable with this type of session, there are other ways to work on your mental health. For instance, some therapists recommend basic activities around the house, like baking a tray of cookies. These can help you get a sense of progress and productivity, and you get yourself a treat. 

However, a recent study showed that patients are more willing to accept video counseling once they get to know their therapist and establish a trustful relationship. Also, the same study found that patients who can’t get in-person sessions because of limited accessibility are interested in video therapy sessions.

So it’s a matter of perception. If you live in a city and have access to high-quality mental health services, then you may not need to give video counseling a second thought. Still, many people appreciate the convenience factor. With video counseling, they can participate in therapy sessions from the comfort of their own home, which can save time and reduce stress related to transportation.

On the downside, your therapy session may be interrupted by technical issues, such as a weak internet connection or faulty equipment.

Also, for patients who don’t live nearby a city or in the city, video counseling provides them with better access to mental health services. The same is true for people with mobility issues. Plus, when you’re not bound by physical location constraints it’s easier to find time in the day for a therapy session.

On the flip side, it can be difficult to build a rapport with a therapist without face-to-face meetings. Also, there’s always an inherent risk of data being intercepted or misused in any online activity, even with safe telehealth platforms.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, video counseling has gained prominence among mental health providers due to its convenience and accessibility. With a strong focus on HIPAA compliance, this innovative approach offers both advantages and challenges. As we adapt to modern tools and technology, video therapy continues to reshape the mental healthcare landscape.

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