Telehealth is not new to the team at Med-Psych, having psychology, counselling and assessments via teletherapy for the past 5 years. Because of their deep experience in this arena, we thought who better to ask about the questions we get so often around telehealth?
Why should telehealth be your first choice?
The 3 key factors that can make telehealth the first choice for many individuals:
- Suitability - being at home is not only convenient but is also a better option for those who experience great anxiety around attending therapy appointments in person. Teletherapy has been especially helpful for young autistic people.
- Saves money - your funding spent is 100% on therapy. No travel cost is charged at the same rate as the therapy!
- Capacity - if you live in a remote/rural area where there are limited providers and even more limited capacity, teletherapy presents the best possible solution. You receive top-quality care/consulting from practitioners who are not present in rural areas. Teletherapy also means no need to wait 6 months for a face-to-face appointment, you can get started immediately.
Is teletherapy suitable for me?
The suitability of telehealth does indeed depend on the type of therapy being delivered as well as a person's disability.
The team at Med-Psych tell us that delivering pyscho-therapy and counselling via teletherapy is ideal. They also told us that they perform a number of diagnoses and assessments using teletherapy.
The is especially exciting news is that they have been performing autism assessments and diagnoses for a number of years.
Med-Psych can do assessments through emailing questionnaires or in real-time through sharing screens when on zoom-type platforms. Assessments include:
- Cognitive (eg IQ type) assessments
- Functional assessments
- CALD assessments
The advantage is that the therapist can assist whilst the participant/carer is completing the form work, or leave the participant and carer to complete the form work in their own time, and spend more of the session on therapy!
What happens if my child misbehaves during therapy?
This was a common question! Linda and the team reassure us, that it's actually not a bad thing to have a child ‘misbehaving' in their natural home environment on camera. It provides a real-life picture, which is very necessary to perform an assessment.
What about if I/my child can't sit still for that long?
No need for concern that some participants may not be able to attend to the computer screen for lengthy periods.
For some assessments eg aged care/cognitive assessments, children/adults / ADHD assessments - observing naturalistic behaviour in a home environment is an important part of the assessment. If you can't sit still, you can't sit still. You can also run the session via a smart phone or ipad as a mobile alternative to a computer screen.
I'm not a tech geek - will I be able to manage teletherapy?
Firstly, you are not expected to get set up alone. Med-psych has a full time 'tech guy' who will ensure you are set up and able to run your sessions successfully before you even have your first session. No need to stress about what to install, set up or configure. It's all done for you!
He will also help you set up for phone as backup.
So what actually happens when I decide to use teletherapy?
All telehealth providers will have their own systems and processes in place. The team at Med-Psych have shared their processes so you have an idea of how it might work.
They first ensure that patients are set up and able to take part in teletherapy and will guide (and assist with their tech geek) them through the setup and consultation process.
The steps that Med-Psych take are as follows:
- Start with a pre-session contact where the tech support team will check your system requirements.
- After you make an appointment and a date and time is set for your telehealth consult, an email will be sent to you with a link to use.
- Tech support can assist at the commencement of the session to get it started (and remain available for the therapist or participant if the link drops out). They will also help you set up your phone as a backup if required.
- Flexibility is offered eg video on or off, live chat if preferred, virtual background to preserve privacy.
- Otherwise, runs like a usual face to face session!
Do I have to do my teletherapy alone?
It all depends on how you can get the most out of a telehealth session. If you need a support worker or family member as support, that is absolutely fine.
Do you really do online autism assessments?
At MyCareSpace we were excited to find out that Med-Psych has been performing autism diagnoses and assessments online for some time now.
Since they are led by a Clinical Psychologist (Dr Linda Thomas) who has over 20 years of clinical experience and are very experienced at doing online assessments, this is something that they are very experienced with.
This was great news as we know what the waiting lists are like in many areas for autism assessments needed for NDIS applications!
In summary, the team at MyCareSpace think telehealth for autism assessments, counselling and psychotherapy is a super option in this COVID lockdown or if you live in a more remote area.
For information about online autism assessments, contact Linda Thomas, Clinical Psychologist.