What is it? We use Zoom’s HIPAA compliant business platform for our online counseling. Your therapist will send you a meeting invitation to your email or cell phone. You just click on the link, and your therapist will be on the other end, ready to see you as usual.
We have offered online counseling services for several years now at Spencer Psychology, and our clinicians were trained in the modality well before the pandemic. It is not a “lesser” modality than our in-person sessions, just a different modality. We have many clients who prefer it for privacy and convenience.
Does it work as well as in-person sessions? Yes. Online counseling has been available for years. Multiple studies over these years have found that in broad use, it is just as effective as in-person sessions in terms of symptom reduction and client satisfaction. Some studies have found online counseling can even be superior for some age groups and diagnoses.
We still have some clients and some clinicians who prefer in-person, but the online modality is successful for the large majority of our clients. We anticipate many will remain online even after the pandemic has resolved.
Advantages: Of course, during the Covid, online counseling is a way to safely access services. However, online counseling has advantages during normal times too. Many of our clients do a combination of online counseling and in-person sessions, depending on their schedules, childcare and transportation for a particular day.
- Clients with certain diagnoses like PTSD and anxiety disorders who are uncomfortable in waiting rooms can do online counseling without the discomfort of groups of people.
- Many clients find it easier to disclose difficult topics through online counseling than in person.
- You can remain with your therapist when you move or graduate. Some clients see their therapist as a long-term support, checking in for episodes of treatment as they transition through life. (Being able to maintain that relationship over time is our personal favorite).
- Military members, clients with security clearances, and clients who are public figures such as teachers, judges, or other elected officials can much more easily protect their privacy by doing online counseling from their homes or offices.
- If you live in a rural area, or have a long drive, we can see you without the commute.
- Elderly clients with mobility issues can use online counseling from their homes.
- More clients living outside the Bloomington area are able to access our specialty services if there are no providers are in their area.
- Students who don’t have cars on campus can be seen without having to take the bus or finding a ride.
- You won’t have as much missed work time, with clients often being able to do a full session over a lunch hour. (This can make a difference if you work on campus and have to find parking again when you return).
Will my insurance cover it? Yes. Insurance companies pay for online counseling sessions.
How do I start?
Simply fill out our contact form here https://spencerpsychology.com/scheduling/#contact Our support staff will then contact you through our texting app (or by phone if you prefer) to schedule an appointment.
How do I use access the online counseling software?
- We use HIPAA compliant Zoom as our platform
- Download the free software https://zoom.us
- When it is time for your appointment, look in your email. Some of our clinicians are using a calendar integration, and the link will be emailed to you automatically in your appointment reminders. Some clinicians will email you a link directly for a Zoom meeting. Click on that link and you will see the below screen. Click “open link” at the bottom of the smaller window with the blue box.
- When it opens, click on “join with audio” and “join with video”
- Your clinician will be waiting once you have joined. If your video and audio are on, you will now be able to see and hear your therapist. If you see a black screen with only your therapist’s name, your video is off. Go to the bottom and you will see a little camera with a red line through it. Click on that and the camera will turn on.
If you can’t hear, click on “Unmute” at the bottom where there is an icon of a microphone.
Keep your cell phone nearby for a backup, in case there are technical difficulties. Your therapist will then call you.
How do I pay for my sessions? There is a payment link on our website. https://spencerpsychology.com/product/make-a-payment/ Many clients owe the same thing every time they come. Payment is expected same day of service.
If your copay changes, or you are unsure what you owe, please contact us:
- Call (812) 333-8474
- Text (866) 222-1629
- Email admin@spencerpsychology
What if I need some tech help? We have you covered. Getting started is usually pretty seamless and takes less than five minutes. If you hit a snag, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request one of us to call you to walk you through the set up.
We can also do a quick test meeting for you to be sure it’s all working prior to your appointment. That way you will be ready to go when your appointment starts.