Telehealth: we may be unable to meet face to face due to coronavirus, but thanks to telehealth (phone and skype), psychology and counselling services can still be delivered …
Telehealth counselling is essential to reduce the community spread of COVID-19 and protect each other from the virus.
Out of necessity, clients will discover the benefits of telehealth psychology and may well embrace it, changing the way counselling is delivered into the future.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth or eHealth uses telecommunications and virtual technology to deliver counselling and psychology services outside of traditional health-care facilities.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, it has been an excellent way to provide access for clients who are chronically ill, live in rural and remote areas or have difficulties travelling into an appointment.
It is another way for you to access the benefits of working with the best psychologists in Australia from the comfort and convenience of your home and ‘loungewear’ clothing.
Telehealth adds value in its ease, convenience and accessibility in an age when most of life is accessed through apps, facetime, WhatsApp or other internet-based connection pathways. Psychological practice is now going through a welcomed technological upgrade. We love face-to-face sessions and will continue to provide them once the pandemic has passed; telehealth psychology is offered as an expansion to our services, and not intended to replace what we know works.
Telehealth offers people many benefits, some of which include the ability to access quality services, in scheduled times, in ways which remove the need to travel to an appointment, saving time, money, and offering a more convenient adjunct, or add-on.
Working with your own Psychologist ensures the same consistent high-quality service, and it is the way of the future – this current global crisis has just accelerated the roll-out!
The Way of the Future
I am unsure if people understand the true value of having more immediate access to online/ phone services.
Traditionally in order to access government assisted health care, and private healthcare, it was necessary to attend a physical location.
However, as this global pandemic has impacted all our lives, the previously known plans to roll out online services have been forced through. As COVID-19 is changing the ways we interact in the short term, the accessibility and use of Telehealth will be something which we continue to use, when all our immune systems are adapted to this specific virus.
Psychiatry has also moved to telehealth accessibility.
Face to Face Counselling via Telehealth
Our focus on technology-enabled counselling is critical due to the fears of illness, and potential for a significant proportion of our community being placed in isolation or quarantine.
Technology-enabled mental health services provide an efficient and practical interface and means of delivering treatment to anxious individuals and communities. These services provide an accessible mechanism for you to seek support, advice and practical strategies to manage anxiety – something nearly all of us are feeling at this time – without having to attend in-person sessions.
Studies show that online treatments can improve the most common types of anxiety and stress reactions we would typically see during pandemics, including health anxiety, generalised anxiety and stress, PTSD and depression [1, 2].
Services such as ours enable our clinicians to continue to provide a seamless transition into services, so that our clients can continue to link in with us, as part of the response to the current crisis.
We remain open for in-person sessions, and have expanded our services to facilitate treatment and care for those who are vulnerable within our communities. We understand that attending in-person therapy sessions may be too anxiety provoking for those who fear contracting COVID-19, or impossible for those in quarantine or self-isolation.
We are working for you to prevent breaks in your access to professional ongoing care – this decreases the risk of relapse and worsening symptoms. We are designed with our online presence to manage this, and give people access to all options and specifically CHOICE.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Research indicates that in past pandemics, patients who experienced severe and life-threatening illnesses were at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, in the months to years following their illness [5, 6].
Here at M1 Psychology and Vision Psychology, we are delighted to remain proactive in developing and quickly attending to the needs of our community to prevent this from occurring, we screen for common mental health problems and aim to provide best practice, evidence-based and effective psychological supports – such as telehealth counselling.
We look forward to connecting with you, throughout this process, as we continue to serve our community with the most upgraded, effective and SAFE ways possible.
Author: Sharon Hulin, BA (Double Hons), MA (Psych), MaPPi, ANZMH.
Sharon Hulin is a Brisbane Psychologist with a passion for supporting individuals with understanding and managing stress. With a solid grounding in academic training and scientifically researched best practice models of care, and many years of experience, Sharon provides support and guidance to help you clarify, heal, understand and integrate.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3067 9129.
- Newby, J.M., et al. Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy versus psychoeducation control for illness anxiety disorder and somatic symptom disorder: A randomized controlled trial. 2018.
- Dear, B.F., et al., Transdiagnostic versus disorder-specific and clinician-guided versus self-guided internet- delivered treatment for generalized anxiety disorder and comorbid disorders: A randomized controlled trial. J Anxiety Disord, 2015. 36: p. 63-77.
- Spence, J., et al., Internet-based trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy for PTSD with and without exposure components: a randomised controlled trial. J Affect Disord, 2014. 162: p. 73-80.
- Brooks, S.K., et al., The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. The Lancet, 2020. 395(10227): p. 912-920.
- Chua, S.E., et al., Stress and psychological impact on SARS patients during the outbreak. Can J Psychiatry, 2004. 49(6): p. 385-90.
- Mak, I.W.C., et al., Long-term psychiatric morbidities among SARS survivors. General Hospital Psychiatry, 2009. 31(4): p. 318-326.