ARE VIDEO AND PHONE SESSIONS AS EFFECTIVE AS IN-PERSON SESSIONS?
In short, yes, they can be.
The APA published this article in spring 2020 (when everyone was asking this question as therapy services largely shifted to virtual platforms). The article speaks specifically to phone therapy, and states that "more than 20 years of research demonstrates that psychotherapy delivered via the phone is as effective as the care delivered in person. A review of 13 studies found significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression when therapy was provided via telephone (Coughtrey and Pistrang, 2018)." Here's a 2017 review of literature regarding telemental health care (which is also called telepsychology, telehealth, or e-counselling) that states that "our findings indicate that telemental health care is cost effective and can lead to efficient and adaptable solutions to the care of patients with mental illnesses, with promising outcomes.". They note that telepsychology is of particular value in improving accessibility for those who would have difficulty getting to sessions in a regular clinic during typical business hours.
It is important to be aware of the ways that telepsychology is different from face to face therapy.
Technology failures can happen. We will have a back up plan (see question below).
Since we aren't meeting in an office, it's important to find a quiet (as best you can) space for yourself where distractions are limited in order to be as present as possible in session
If you were to decide that telepsychology services are not the right fit for you-no worries, let me know and I will work with you to develop a referral and transition plan to what in-person services may be available in your area
Under certain circumstances, I may decide that telepsychology services are not providing the level of support a client needs-if that were to happen I would work with that client to develop a referral and transition plan-at the end of the day, it's the most important thing that people are connected to the right support
If you have more questions about whether telepsychology would be a good fit for you personally, please contact me and we can discuss further.
WHAT IF WE HAVE A TECHNOLOGY FAILURE?
So, first off, there's a couple things we can do to set ourselves up for success:
If you're using a mobile phone, make sure it's charged
If we're doing a video session, set yourself up in an area with good wifi (and have your charger handy if needed)
Otherwise, if we experience trouble in a video session, I will phone you and we can either troubleshoot (if it seems like an easy fix) or we'll just carry on with the session on the phone. If we experience issues on the phone, I will try phoning back, and if I cannot reach you, I will attempt to get in contact with you another way (e.g. secondary phone number, email etc.). You don't need to remember all of this-I will send you this information when you begin therapy sessions.
WHAT KIND OF THERAPY APPROACH DO YOU USE?
Most clinicians will have taken extra training in at least one (but often a few) different modalities (which is just therapy-lingo for therapy approach).
My practice is heavily influenced by positive psychology and I practice solution focused therapy. What this means is that in session, I am listening for your strengths, your values, and your motivations. While we will talk about the problems that you're facing, I'll also be guiding a conversation about developing goals to work towards the kind of future state you are hoping for. What excites me about solution focused therapy is that we don't have to get bogged down in all the details of what is going wrong before we start talking about how to move towards potential solutions.
In addition to solution focused therapy, I have a background in cognitive behavioural therapy (or CBT for short). CBT is based on the premise that our thoughts affect our feelings and therefore our behaviour. If we build our capacity to think about our thinking, we gain the opportunity to shift our thoughts-which then impacts our feelings and behaviour(s).
Regardless of modality - feeling like you're a good fit with your therapist is a vital part of effective therapy, which leads me to the next question...
WHAT IF IT FEELS LIKE WE AREN'T THE RIGHT FIT FOR EACH OTHER?
This piece is really key to your therapy experience. Research demonstrates over and over that the therapeutic alliance (basically the relationship between therapist and client) is a critical factor and that a positive alliance is linked to better outcomes. So if the way I do therapy is not the right fit for you, or you think my sense of humour is terrible, or whatever the reason might be, it's part of my job to help you find what might be a better fit for you.
You could definitely choose to just not come back, but I'd encourage you to reach out and give me a call. Not only will I not freak out at you, I will be SO impressed with your advocating for yourself and happy to help you make a plan to access different services.
HOW IS MY INFORMATION PROTECTED?
Your demographic information, forms and session notes are stored through a practice management software program called Jane. This software is PIPEDA compliant (Canadian privacy law).
As a registered psychologist, how I manage client's information is regulated by various legislation as well as standards of practice and the code of ethics set out by the College of AB Psychologists. It is my duty to ensure confidentiality of client's information, and to discuss with every client the limits of confidentiality and any risks to confidentiality. I am always happy to discuss further with you what information is collected and why, and how it is managed, so if you have further questions, please let me know.
HOW LONG DOES EACH THERAPY SESSION TAKE?
Your first session is 90 minutes long (with a prorated fee). This longer session allows time for the initial assessment in addition to the typical tasks of a therapy session. After this, sessions are 60 minutes each - and please be ready on time so we can start session promptly.
WHAT IS YOUR PAYMENT AND CANCELLATION POLICY?
Talk Box Therapy Services has a 24 hours cancellation policy. If you do not cancel your appointment within 24 hours, it is considered a no-show, and will be charged 50% of the regular fee. This policy is in place to honour the time of the psychologist and clients.
A credit card is required on file in order to book online. The payment policy is that this credit card is charged directly after the session, unless prior arrangements to pay by e-transfer have been made. An invoice is emailed immediately once this payment is made.