During the time of COVID-19, video visits (also known as telehealth) are a safe way to engage in therapy while maintaining social distancing. I’ve been providing telehealth for the past 5 years on a regular basis and it is a great alternative to in-person visits.

Video visits are actually a lot easier than you think. You only need 3 things:

  1. A device with video/audio capabilities (this can be a computer, tablet, or smart phone)
  2. This device must be able to connect to the internet
  3. Privacy

How do video visits work?

The video platform I use is called SimplePractice and it’s about the easiest software I’ve ever used.

  1. On the day of your therapy appointment you will receive an email with a link to your video visit.
  2. Just click the link and a video screen appears. This screen is simply a preview screen that allows you to test your audio (by simply clicking a button) and preview how you look on the video.
  3. When you’re ready, click “Join Video Call.” Once you join the video call, you’ll wait in a virtual waiting room until I login.

Unsure about video visits? Here are the most common worries clients have about video visits:

  • How secure are video visits? The SimplePractice video software I use is integrated with my electronic medical record, so it follows the highest security standards. Video visits are live (never recorded) and HIPAA compliant, meaning they are private, secure and confidential.
  • Where should I be during the video visit? Anywhere you will have privacy for the duration of the visit. Typically, the clients I see are in their home offices or bedrooms.
  • Where is my therapist during the video visit? During this time of COVID-19, I will be conducting video visits from my private home office. You’ll receive the same level of privacy as if you were in my in-person office.
  • Will video visits feel as personal and connected as in-person visits? When I do a video visit, I sometimes feel the disconnect of the video screen for the first minute, but then quickly the screen seems to disappear and the connection between my client and I returns.
  • Are video visits as effective as in-person visits? I have had many clients tell me they don’t want to do video visits because they don’t think video visits will be as effective as in-person visits. Research shows that telehealth is effective and can be as effective as in-person therapy. Personally, I know I can provide the same high quality treatment via video that I can provide in-person.
  • Does insurance reimburse for video visits? Insurance companies typically don’t pay for video visits. The only insurance I accept, University of Utah UNIBHN, is currently making an exception due to COVID-19 and covering video visits.

When will you start to do therapy in-person again?

The short answer to this question is, likely when the Utah COVID-19 risk phase reduces to Low Risk. Utah is currently in the Moderate Risk Phase, and during this phase telework is recommended, unless not possible. Telehealth is as effective as in-person visits for many mental health concerns, and the vast majority of my clients are finding that (despite the occasional technical difficulty), it’s as beneficial as an in-person session. Given this, I am happy to do my part for reducing risk and continue telework for the time being.  In the meantime, I appreciate all my clients who have transitioned to telehealth and all my clients who are waiting patiently to be seen in-person. We will get through this and I can’t wait to see your faces in-person again!