The last few weeks have become increasingly stressful for many of us. Unfortunately, the immediate future will likely be a struggle as well. This has caused many people, both continuing and new patients, to seek therapy as a way of managing their mental health during this tough time. However, due to the social distancing guidelines set forth by the federal government, as well as certain state and local mandates, visiting a therapist’s office is simply not an option.
Luckily, telepsychiatry is an established field of mental health counseling that was around before COVID-19 erupted. Sometimes referred to as teletherapy, video therapy, or video visits, this form of mental health counseling allows for distanced communication between an individual and their therapist. Like its name suggests, telepsychiatry uses a video or phone call to establish communication rather than an in-person office visit. This allows you to discuss concerns with your provider, as well as allows your provider to prescribe necessary medications.
The process for scheduling a video visit is similar to that of scheduling an office visit. You can either call our office or request an appointment online at a time that is convenient for you. After making your appointment, you will receive an email with login information for Chiron Health. Chiron Health is a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine app that provides a safe and secure virtual connection between you and your therapist. The day of your appointment, you will simply login about 15 minutes before your scheduled time and prepare to meet with your provider.
Nevertheless, if this is your first time trying telepsychiatry, it can seem unfamiliar at first. Additionally, possible technology issues can add frustration and more stress. As you become more familiar with video therapy, things will become easier. In order to give you the best teletherapy experience possible, here are some recommendations:
Just as we recommend arriving for your in-office appointments about 10 minutes early, we recommend the same thing for video appointments. This allows you some time to figure out your side of technology logistics and do any troubleshooting before your appointment time. In some cases, you may also be able to schedule some additional time before your first appointment to accommodate any potential issues.
It is important to treat your video appointment like you would an in-office appointment. This means getting dressed, sitting at a desk or somewhere besides your bed, and being prepared for your session. Although it may not seem like much, this small bit of normalcy can help you be more productive during your appointment. It is important to note that your therapist should also be maintaining professionalism on their side as well. If you feel that this is not the case, then you should speak up about it, especially if their behavior is distracting.
Use Video Whenever Possible
Even though telepsychiatry can be performed using audio only, it is recommended to use video whenever possible. This is because a large amount of communication is facial expressions and body language. In their absence, it may be harder to feel connected to your therapist and can even lead to miscommunications.
Overall, we are here to provide you with mental support and psychiatric care during this trying time through the use of video appointments. By using the strategies suggested above, we are also hoping that you can have a productive and positive session with your provider.
Dr. Miller is trained in Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is also trained in Anesthesia and Pain Management. Because of her broad experience, Dr. Miller is uniquely qualified to treat psychological trauma, depression and anxiety that can occur as a result of injury or disability. For more information, schedule a consultation at NJ Family Psychiatry & Therapy.