During the Covid-19 pandemic, I work exclusively online.
Many people who have never tried online counseling before are hesitant at first, but adapt quite easily after a session or two. Although it feels different to talk to someone through a screen than it does to meet in person, online therapy is also a lot more accessible. It cuts commuting time down to zero. Some people find that being in the comfort of their own home helps them access their thoughts and feelings in a way that is more connected and integrated with the rest of their life. If you have pets, they can help soothe you during therapy. If you would like to show me your home, or anything in your personal space that is significant to you, that can be done easily.
I use a secure online platform that is HIPAA-compliant, and I work from a home office that is private. If you don’t have a private space within your home for a confidential conversation, you might find that you are more comfortable sitting in your vehicle, or talking on the phone while you go for a walk. If there are resources or worksheets I would like to share with you, I can share my screen, or send you documents electronically in the secure patient portal.
Sometimes connection issues can pose a challenge. If that is the case, I’ll have us switch to a phone call, so we can maintain steady audio quality. We can keep the video call using a separate device (your computer or tablet), and mute our audio on the video call. That way, the video can go in and out if there are any delays, but we will at least be able to hear each other consistently.
I do treat couples and families online as well. It can be a bit tricky to arrange the space so that everyone can see each other, but eventually we figure it out. I sometimes ask family members to mute the video call and pass one person’s phone around on speaker, so I can make sure to hear everyone well.
As an LMFT licensed in Oregon, I can treat anyone in the state. When the pandemic is over, I will return to working in the office, conveniently located in Southeast Portland. Telehealth will remain available at that time for those who live further away or simply prefer to meet online.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, insurance covers telehealth in the same way it covers regular therapy. This trend may continue into the future as well. For those paying out of pocket, my rates are the same.