There is a revolution coming. Over the last 10 years technology has evolved to the point where high quality audio/visual connections have allowed clinicians and patients to experiment with therapy conducted at a distance.
I admit that I was skeptical at first. “Freud didn’t do it that way, so I don’t like it.” was heard fairly frequently and still is.
Then I received a phone call from a U.S. Army veteran who was experiencing some significant PTSD symptoms while studying abroad in Europe. He asked me to help him using the then-available platforms and I could not leave a fallen soldier on the (now metaphorical) field of battle.
Much to my surprise, it worked and worked remarkably well. Since then I have seen patients in England, The Netherlands, China, Japan, Spain, and several States outside my home state of Washington. Within Washington State, I have provided psychoanalytic therapy to patients from north of Bellingham to the Tri-Cities and everywhere in between.
There are many advantages to online counseling:
Flexible, convenient scheduling, including lunchtime appointments.
No need to take work leave or find childcare.
No commutes or waiting.
Great for clients who travel, relocate, or live in remote/rural areas.
Can offer more anonymity, privacy, and safety than face-to-face sessions.
Can remove the social stigma associated with seeking mental health services.
Make yourself comfortable with a cup of tea, candlelight, music, or anything else that contributes to your well-being.
Online counseling can encourage self-expression.
Recent studies show online therapy to be as effective as face-to-face therapy for treating anything from sleep disorders to depression.
What I am also very excited about is the ability these technologies allow to provide therapy to those patients who may be physically unable to commute to a traditional clinician’s office. The disabled are isolated enough as it is. Distance/Online Therapy allows for the treatment of individuals who could never get help the old fashioned way. If you are looking for help, come see me – digitally.
Without exception, and with no perceivable downside, the work has progressed quite well. I am now convinced beyond any doubt that patients who have been deprived of competent mental health care and support can now access the very best clinicians and transform their lives in ways that, just a few years ago, would have been considered in the realm of science fiction.
It seems like the best clinicians gravitate towards the major metropolitan areas. In Washington State that means Seattle. While there may be practicing clinicians in small towns, rural areas, and other cities, the numbers just don’t add up. Too many people and too few clinicians most everywhere. If you have been unable to access high quality mental health care, you may now do so from the comfort of your living room.
Contact me and let’s talk about the exciting possibilities these new technologies open up for us all.
Before our first Distance/Online session please provide me with the following information:
Best back up communications plan for you. Most patients transition to phone, then email, then text if there is a technology fail along the way. It’s the digital equivalent of a flat tire. Things happen and we should be prepared to maintain continuity of care despite the inevitable glitches that are always part of technology.
What is the number of the local crisis line where you are?
Local emergency contact information:
Family member or significant other.