Updated: Sep 21
In 2011, I worked for a community mental health organization that served over 20 Texas counties. We were able to do this by use of audiovisual platforms similar to how one may use FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype.
The term used for this medium is teletherapy—sometimes referred to as telemedicine or telehealth—and it’s how I practice psychotherapy today. Additionally, telecoaching is what I use for nonclinical life coaching.
While digital services may take some getting used to, I’ve discovered that most clients with whom I work actually prefer online therapy and life coaching to that of an in-person setting. These services can be provided from virtually anywhere, as long as there’s a strong internet signal or service coverage.
Additionally, this sort of therapy can be a welcomed alternative to in-person, face-to-face sessions. For instance, if you experience a situation in which you often travel, are sick or homebound, or are having difficulties leaving your home environment.
As long as you have access to a computer or smart device, and a private place where you are comfortable speaking, the telehealth sessions I offer are a relatively simple and viable method for getting the assistance and psychological wellbeing that would otherwise be difficult or near-impossible to achieve under other circumstances (e.g., COVID-19 lockdowns).
Additionally, I can see clients across the entire state of Texas rather than simply in the Austin area. This ability provides a unique advantage to those providers bound to the confines of brick and mortar offices. The benefits include:
· There is no traffic with which to contend coming to or leaving my sessions
· You likely won’t have to concern yourself with parking payment for a teletherapy session
· No transportation? No problem. I can see you from the comfort of your living room or other preferred location
· Difficulty leaving the home due to physical disability? I can see you from the comfort of your kitchen
· There is virtually zero chance of contracting a transmittable illness from me during your sessions
· No spending time in a crowded waiting room
· Comfort and convenience of sessions in a flexible location (e.g., sitting at the beach)
· If I see a client in Austin and a move to Dallas is necessary for the person, I can continue providing services
· With some exceptions, inclement weather might not affect not your sessions (i.e., icy roads are of little concern when sitting in one’s bedroom)
· There are no receptionists or administrative staff with which to contend, as the push of a button is what begins your session
· With less cost to provide service (i.e., office rental, utilities, etc.), I can offer competitively priced services
Still, as with most instances in life, there are potential disadvantages to telehealth. These include:
· Service or connection disruptions due to poor signal or thunderstorms
· Not all areas you choose for sessions may be ideal for privacy (e.g., a coffee shop)
· No electronic or telecommunication platform offers absolute security
· If a client is in imminent risk of danger to self or others, telehealth can provide unique challenges
· Some people simply prefer not to use teletherapy
For more information, you may want to read 14 Benefits of Teletherapy for Clients or Telemedicine benefits: For patients and professionals.
With over a decade of experience working with clients using electronic means, I’m confident in my ability to assist you. Are you ready to give teletherapy a try?
For those who are hesitant to engage in telehealth therapy, I invite you to challenge yourself by giving my practice a try. If not for you, I may assist you in finding a reasonable alternative to Hollings Therapy, LLC.
Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW
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