Unlike video conferencing programs designed for general use, though, the software platforms used by therapists are subject to the highest standards of privacy and confidentiality. In 1996, the United States Congress passed The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA. Mental health practitioners must obey the privacy provisions of HIPAA, and the video conferencing platforms they use to communicate with their clients must adhere to them, as well. This means that counseling clients who value their privacy can confidently engage in online therapy without fear that their communications might somehow be intercepted by a third party.
Many people use online therapy as their primary way of receiving counseling. It allows busy professionals to squeeze therapy sessions into short blocks of time, such as lunch hours or breaks, by helping them avoid the time and hassle of driving to their therapist’s office. It also allows clients who reside in remote areas—or who have a particular therapist in mind who lives in another city—to get the help they need regardless of where they live.
Online Therapy can also act as an occasional supplemental to regular, in-person visits, serving as a back-up method of meeting a counselor when sick kids, unexpectedly long meetings, or other circumstances come up. Because of the convenience it offers, online therapy is gaining popularity. Remote online meetings are also a growing practice in the medical field, where the practice is commonly referred to as “telehealth.”
No. The vast majority of our clients prefer to meet with their counselor one-on-one. In some circumstances, face-to-face counseling is the preferred method, but online counseling offers an excellent alternative for many people. If you’re interested in our online therapy service, just let us know. We will connect you with a therapist who will help you determine whether you are a good fit for the service. Depending on your situation, we may ask you to come in to the office for one or two visits initially so that you and your therapist can, together, make the most informed decision.
How does online therapy for counseling work?
Depending on the device you’d like to use, your therapist will send you a link to a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platform or show you how to download a free app on your phone or tablet. After you have opened an account, you will meet with your counselor online at a time mutually agreed upon in advance.
What does it cost? Is online therapy covered by insurance?
We base our fees on the service provided, not the method of provision, so your online counseling sessions will cost the same amount as an in-person visit. At this time, the therapists at Family Renewal Counseling who offer online therapy have chosen not to participate in insurance partnerships. If you seek Online Counseling services with a therapist who does partner with insurance, you would need to check your individual plan to determine whether or not services are covered. There is no guarantee it will be covered.
Is Online Therapy effective?
The National Institute for Mental Health reports that results for Online Counseling health outcomes are similar to those of face-to-face counseling, particularly for depression and anxiety, making it a viable option.
Is online therapy confidential?
Yes. Whether conducting face-to-face counseling or Online Counseling treatment, we make client confidentiality our highest priority. Your therapist will work with you from a HIPAA-secure environment on a HIPAA-compliant platform and will store your records in a HIPAA-compliant manner.