Frequently Asked Questions About Making The Most Of Telemental Health Counseling

According to my parents, I suffered from meningitis when I was only one year old. We did not have a lot of money back then, so they could not get me the medical help I needed at once. They thought that I would not survive the illness due to its severity and the delayed treatment, but I was apparently a resilient baby. After two weeks in the hospital, they eventually managed to take me home, but not before the doctors told them that I might deal with hearing loss as a side effect of meningitis.

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True enough, my parents noticed symptoms of it in me a few months later. It started with me not looking up immediately whenever they said my name. Mom told me that they had to be face to face with me before I could pay attention to them. My loss of hearing worsened slowly over the years until I could only perceive unintelligible sounds without a hearing aid at 13 years old. 

Going To Counseling For The First Time

My parents were a bit too sensitive about my hearing loss, partly due to their conversations with parents of other kids with disabilities. Before my condition aggravated, they worried that I might become rebellious because of it or, worse, too depressed to function. Thus, as soon as I got a hearing aid, I found out that they signed me up for counseling. 

Let me emphasize that I was not showing depressive or rebellious symptoms at the time. My hearing loss did not happen overnight – I had years to prepare for it – so I did not have a hard time accepting the inevitable. Despite that, Mom and Dad wanted to ensure that my mental health would not suffer due to my physical disability, so they insisted on taking me to a counselor twice a month.

At first, I agreed to counsel to appease my parents. I had nothing against mental help; I was even fascinated by it. But as the sessions went on, I felt grateful about Mom and Dad’s decision to sign me up for counseling because my counselor inspired me to pursue the same profession and offer mental assistance to people with new hearing disabilities.

Working As A Counselor In 2020

I earned my counseling certifications in the first quarter of 2020 and was preparing to open my clinic when the COVID-19 pandemic happened. I had to postpone the opening because it was inadvisable to meet clients in person. It devastated me since I knew that I needed to offer counseling at the time more than ever. Luckily, I discovered that I could do it online.

What is Telemental health counseling? 

 Telemental health counseling is a new form of counseling that licensed counselors provide using technology. 

How do I start telehealth therapy? 

 If you want to start offering telehealth therapy, you need to get some legal advice first. The most important thing to figure out is if your state license can be used in other states, too. If it is, then you are free to accept clients all over the US. Otherwise, an attorney who specializes in mental health licensing can guide you on your next steps.

You should also review the HIPAA regulars before starting your telehealth practice. The reason is that many individuals refuse to do online therapy in fear of their sensitive information getting leaked and reaching the hands of unlawful people. Thus, make sure to use encrypted software or sign up for a trustworthy platform before practicing virtually and educate your clients about it.

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Furthermore, since you are providing therapy online, you must find a way to increase your client’s comfort. It seems challenging to do in the beginning, considering you cannot even shake a person’s hand through the internet, but you can make it happen by fixing your posture, clothing, smile, and surrounding. You may even play some soft music if you prefer that. More importantly, your internet should be incredibly fast and stable to avoid losing rapport with your clients.

Is Telemental health covered by insurance? 

 Telemental health is covered by a handful of insurance companies, including Aetna, Blue Cross, Cignal, Humana, and United Healthcare. Despite that, you still cannot expect full mental health coverage up to this day.

How do you become a Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider? 

 The first step to becoming a Board Certified-TeleMental Health (BC-TMH) provider is to apply for the certification via the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE) website. Then, you will need to attend online classes and pass all the nine modules they will provide, as well as the final examination. You only have two years to finish everything; otherwise, you must send your application again.

What is the best computer for telehealth? 

 Apple MacBook Air (13 inches) is the best laptop for telehealth. It has a 1.2 GHz quad-core Core i7, long battery life, new keyboard design, 6K display, and improved webcam. 

What is the best telehealth platform? 

 According to TechRadar, the best telehealth platform is Doxy.me.

How does Telemental health work? 

 Patients typically call the telemental health company’s hotline or use their account to request a visit. This visitation occurs online whenever a physician is available to diagnose, treat, or prescribe medication to the individuals.

What is a warm handoff? 

 A warm handoff is a common practice in a healthcare team in which one member practically transfers the patient to another member. It typically happens in front of the patient or their guardian.

Why would you want to be a counselor? 

  • You have wanted to become a counselor for years now. 
  • People have told you that you are an excellent listener. 
  • You don’t mind becoming someone’s confidante and giving advice to everyone.

Will insurance companies pay for telehealth? 

 Local governments are currently working hard to enable insurance companies to pay for telehealth. However, at the time of writing, more or less half of all the states have parity laws.

Does insurance pay for online counseling? 

 The truth is that not all insurance companies cover online counseling. Therefore, the answer to this question depends on your insurance provider.

How much does it cost to use telemedicine? 

 Telemedicine costs approximately half of the regular clinic visit.

What is BC-TMH?

BC-TMH is the abbreviation for Board Certified-TeleMental Health.

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Final Thoughts

Although I could have joined an online counseling platform initially, I thought against it because I wanted to cater to a specific demographic – people with hearing loss like me. In the end, I contacted the local support groups I was a part of, and they directed various clients to me for a consultation through Skype or Zoom. I realized that it was not too different from traditional counseling, considering we could still use sign language to communicate. 

Though I would eventually open my clinic and meet clients face-to-face when the pandemic ends, I would continue offering telemental health counseling.

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