Telehealth: A Convenient Way for Social Workers to Offer Professional Support
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant shift in the way that healthcare services are delivered, including the way that therapeutic services are offered. With the introduction of telehealth, the delivery of healthcare, health education, and health information services is now possible through remote technologies. This includes online therapy, which offers individuals a convenient and safe alternative to in-person therapy sessions.
Through telehealth, individuals can interact with licensed therapists from the comfort and safety of their homes using a computer, tablet, or cell phone. They no longer need to make appointments, drive to office locations, or wait in an office to have a face-to-face meeting to disclose their innermost thoughts and ideas. Talking through a screen may provide a sense of security and convenience for individuals seeking mental health support.
Therapists have reported that the rate of compliance and improved attendance has significantly improved with telehealth. This could be because individuals are more likely to attend sessions when they know they can access therapy from the comfort of their own home.
Different modalities of therapy are used in telehealth, including but not limited to:
- Psychodynamic therapies – focus on changing problematic behaviors, feelings, and thoughts by discovering their unconscious meanings and motivations.
- Behavior therapy – focuses on learning the client’s role in developing both normal and abnormal behaviors.
- Cognitive therapy – addresses negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns.
- Humanistic therapy – emphasizes people’s capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum potential.
- Integrative therapy – blends elements from different approaches and tailors treatment to each client’s needs.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy – works to change dysfunctional thinking that leads to dysfunctional emotions or behaviors.
- Solution-focused therapy – focuses on solutions rather than problems.
There are many benefits to using telehealth for social work services. Telehealth can:
- Increase access to services: Telehealth can make it possible for social workers to reach clients who live in rural areas or who have difficulty getting to an office.
- Improve efficiency: Telehealth can save social workers time and money by reducing the need for travel.
- Enhance client satisfaction: Clients often report that they prefer telehealth to in-person services because it is more convenient and allows them to feel more comfortable.
If you are interested in becoming a social worker, it is important to learn about telehealth and how it can be used to deliver social work services. Telehealth is a rapidly growing field, and social workers who are trained in telehealth will be in high demand.
Here are some resources to help you learn more about telehealth:
- The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has a number of resources on telehealth, including a guide to telehealth for social workers.
- The American Telemedicine Association is a professional organization that provides resources and education on telehealth.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a number of resources on telehealth for mental health providers.
Since the pandemic, more people have explored the possibility of outpatient mental health facilities for services. Online therapy platforms like Betterhelp www.betterhelp.com and Talkspace www.talkspace.com have seen a substantial increase in usage. The convenience and safety of telehealth have made it an appealing alternative to traditional in-person therapy sessions.
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