04 Oct 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Online Counsellor / Online Therapy / Online Therapy Safety / Post Traumatic Stress Disorder / Trauma

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Online Trauma Therapist

Article by Marvis Bih,

Choosing an online trauma therapist

Last week, we talked about PTSD and its causes. This week, we are looking at what makes a good online trauma therapist, and patients who choose to make use of online therapy.

What makes a good online trauma therapist is their ability to abide by ethical considerations in the same way as with face to face therapy. These considerations include confidentiality, privacy and knowing when it is unsafe to work with trauma patients online.

Who seeks online trauma therapy?

People who need online trauma therapy are diverse and have different reasons for choosing this option. Sometimes, online therapy can be the first step to recovery for people who suffer from agoraphobia (fear of being in places you can’t escape) that could develop after a traumatic event.
Hence, online therapy can be the first step to get assistance for people who are unable to leave home, which include challenges or fears of using public transport (Maples & Han, 2008). Furthermore, during 2020, people were forced to stay indoors, and those who tested positive for Covid-19 had to self-isolate. This increased the need for online therapy. Also, people who do not feel comfortable going out due to trauma, the fear of contacting the Covid-19 virus or any other phobias may choose the online option.

Is online therapy for you?

Online therapy can be the best option because it is generally cheaper than face to face counselling due to savings on travel and time. This convenient option can be accessed from the comfort of your home, car or office. Besides, the flexibility of online therapy can be the best option for clients who work 9-5 jobs and are unable to see a therapist during working hours (Speyer & Zack, 2003).

Online counselling will not be suitable for all clients in all circumstances, for example, when a client requires a rehabilitation service or psychiatric care. The best a mental health practitioner can do in these situations is to offer referral services.

Confidentiality and privacy

It is important to ensure that you are in a secure setting so that your online conversations cannot be overheard. When working through trauma, make sure you have a support person that can provide extra support after your counselling session. The software used for online therapy is encrypted, and counsellors will inform clients when sessions are recorded. Make sure that you have updated your own software and that your virus software is up to date. Stay tuned for more on online cognitive behaviour therapy next week.

Want to learn more? Feel free to complete the form below and an online therapist will get back to you.

References

Australian Counseling Association. (nd) Guidelines for online counselling and psychotherapy. Available at: https://www.theaca.net.au/documents/Guidelines%20for%20online%20counselling%20and%20psychotherapy.pdf. Accessed 01/09/2020.

Maples, M.F., & Han, S. (2008). Cybercounseling in the United States and South Korea: Implications for counseling college students of the millennial generation and the networked generation. Journal of Counseling & Development, 86, 178-183. 44.

Speyer, C. & Zack, J. (2003). Online Counselling: Beyond the pros and cons. Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265565618_Online_counselling_Beyond_the_pros_and_cons. Accessed 01/09/2020.

12 Jul 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Online therapist / Online Therapy / Online Therapy Clinical Psychologist / Online Therapy Safety

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3 Essentials of finding good online therapy

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels | Article by K. Yusay

Are you thinking of trying online therapy? If you want to avoid wasting your time and find one that actually works well for you, then we can provide you with a few pointers in the right direction. Here are three things to keep in mind for finding good online therapy.

(1) Get a Qualified Online Therapist.

Nowadays, if you’re looking for an online psychologist, there are numerous qualified psychologists available online. Bear in mind, however, that there are a couple of things you need to watch out for.

According to the American Psychological Association, on the top of your list should be credentials and registration. Do your research and make sure that you find a licensed and qualified online psychologist. Preferably, work with someone who is registered with boards in your own country, even asking their practice certificate. If you work with someone outside of your country then you will be subject to the laws that govern outside your country and the complaints procedures may be difficult if you received poor or unethical services.

Moreover, you can also choose a specialist to help you in your healing journey. Whether you are suffering from trauma, childhood abuse, substance misuse, LGBTQ issues, etc., working with one who has the expertise you need makes it easier for both parties.

Additionally, as stated in a 2019 article authored by Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., aside from credentials, you should ask your online therapist if your insurance covers the sessions. In New Zealand, find out if your insurance company covers psychological services. Jim Bierman works with insurance companies in New Zealand, feel free to contact him to find out if he has worked with your insurance company in the past.

(2) Try it with someone you can build rapport with.

As written by Noam Shpancer Ph.D. in Psychology Today, another way to spot if a therapist is right for you is if you’re able to build rapport with him/her. The therapeutic relationship is one of the most consistent predictors for therapeutic success, in research over the years. Noam further explains it’s necessary that you feel comfortable, understood, and connected with your psychologist.

(3) Prioritize security and privacy.

There are laws in place that can safeguard your data. The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) ensures that companies providing mental health care prevent data leaks.

Another U.S. law called HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) ensures that if a data breach happens to you, you’ll be notified. The only difference is that PHIPA is a law for companies and organizations and PIPEDA covers information custodians like nurses, doctors, ambulance workers, etc.

As for the European Union, there’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). It’s considered the world’s toughest data privacy law.It levies harsh fines for violators, even costing them millions.

The reason these laws are important is that it safeguards online users of psychological services of negligence on the side of the professional. It is also important to remember that safeguarding is not only the duty of the psychologist, but you must also make sure you have a secure connection and that you have downloaded all the security updates as recommended by your service providers.

Something that is often overlooked is your physical privacy. Is your location secure? Can family or colleagues hear your conversations? Security is more than just online safety, it is also securing your conversations so that others cannot hear what you talk about in confidence.

If you want to learn more about online therapy safety, click here.

Do you want to contact Jim or Sara? You can read more about Sara by following this link and Jim by clicking here. Alternatively, just complete the form below.

09 May 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Doxy.me counselling / Online Counselling platforms / Online Counsellor Qualifications / Online Therapy Safety / Skype Counselling / Video Counselling / Zoom Counselling

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3 Things You Should Know About Online Therapy Safety

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels | Article by Kimberly Yusay

Are you considering taking online therapy? Here are three safety measures you can take when trying it out.

(1) Find Qualified Counsellors

Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

As stated in a 2020 article published in the Human Givens Institute, there are three things to consider for online counsellor selection.

  • Experience– Face-to-face experience is one of the top online counsellor qualifications.
  • Legality– Some therapists aren’t licensed to provide therapy within a certain state or location. In case the client still wants to proceed despite this knowledge, written consent can be provided.
  • Insurance– It best to check if online therapy covers your insurance policy.

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(2) Aim for Data Protection

Photo by Fernando Arcos from Pexels

Amy Novotney emphasised in her recent article for the American Psychological Association that data protection should a top priority for online therapy.

Here are some laws that will help safeguard your privacy:

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) -According to the HIPAA Journal, this American law requires companies to prevent data leaks.
  • PHIPA & PIPEDA (Personal Health Information Protection Act and Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) – These Canadian laws serve the same function as HIPAA. PHIPA covers organisations while PIPEDA applies to health information custodians.
  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) – European Union’s toughest data privacy law imposes heavy fines on violators, some amounting to millions of dollars.

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(3) Pick the Right Platform

Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels

Using a secure online counsellor platform that works well for you is also important.

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