Ever since my move from New York City, online counseling has become a big part of my practice. The online counseling I offer is weekly scheduled sessions through video-conferencing such as Skype or Zoom. As a Jewish therapist online, I only accept cases for online counseling where I believe it can be just as effective for them as in-person counseling.
Online counseling is NOT suitable for:
- People with suicidal thoughts or a history of suicidality
- People not currently able to meet the demands of day to day life
- People whose anxiety or depression is interfering with normal functioning
To make online sessions just as effective as in-person sessions, clients need to duplicate the dynamics of a therapist’s office. Online counseling clients need to:
- Secure a spot you can rely on week-to-week to be private. This means a spot where you don’t have to worry about someone overhearing you, and a place that will be free of distractions (including work and children). It is preferable for it to be the same spot every week as consistency and reliability is helpful to the therapy process. This will be your ‘safe zone’ so try to make it a comfortable, desirable spot.
- Make sure you have a strong internet connection/ wifi signal in the location you are doing it. Technological interruptions are disruptive to the therapy.
- It is best to use a hands-free device whose camera screen captures you at least from the shoulders up, but even better if its from the elbows up. My being able to see your body language is part of effective therapy.
- No multitasking. Commit to a time you will be doing nothing else but therapy. Avoid texting/ emailing on your phone or computer, no childcare or housework, no answering doors, walking, exercising, no driving.
- It’s best if you can also block out a few minutes before the session to clear your mind and get present (as if it was the drive there or the waiting room), and a few minutes after to sit with your reactions and ready yourself to return to your day (as if it was the ride home).
- Please have tissues and water in the room with you every week, so you don’t have to worry about getting up and getting these items in case you need them during your session.
- Therapy licensing goes by state. I am licensed by NY State which means I am not considered licensed in other states and countries, currently. Potential clients outside of NY need to be okay with this and will be required to sign a document confirming that.
- The first few sessions of online counseling are considered an assessment period. I am assessing if I think we can do productive work together via video, and the client is assessing if they feel comfortable and that they can connect through the screen. Many clients feel awkward at first, but by the end of the first session already stop thinking about the screen.
- Depending on your location, we may have to work with time differences when scheduling sessions. So far, most people have felt this worked in their favor.
- I take measures to ensure confidentiality in video sessions and online communication, but the client should also make sure they feel secure communicating through these mediums.
- Payment for online counseling is via credit card or payment app such as Venmo, Paypal, Zelle, or Square. Payment is done at the time of session (immediately before or after- your choice). If you are not paying my full fee, you will be required to take on the processing fee for a credit card transaction or if you ‘pay as vendor’ on PayPal.
- I am not in-network for any insurance policies. For those with out-of-network mental health benefits, some insurance policies include online therapy, some do not. For clients outside of NY, some will include online therapy with a therapist with a NY license, most will not. To check with your provider, ask them what (if any) coverage you get for ‘CPT code: 90834-95’ with a therapist with a NY license.
I look forward to working with you!
Recently relocated from New York City to Arizona