Mobile phone reading "Telehealth"

Telehealth is Expected to Get a Big Boost in the Biden Era

Even before he was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s health secretary on March 18, 2021, Xavier Becerra had signaled his support for expanding telehealth. During his confirmation hearings in February, Becerra said, "I wholeheartedly believe we're going to be doing expansion of telehealth." 

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an overhaul of school services, with many social workers and counselors switching from in-person counseling to telehealth. This transition can encourage safer student access to behavioral health services, but it can also increase the need for telehealth training. 

According to the policy group, Education Commission of the States, 1 in 6 children experience a mental health disorder in a given year—with over half forgoing proper treatment. Many students who received care pre-pandemic used school counseling offices as a safe space for processing emotional hardships. School social workers and counselors are now pivoting to provide the same standard of care virtually as they offered in person. 

School girl looking at laptop screen

No longer bound by four walls or a physical address, telehealth platforms for K-12 schools have modernized how students learn and socialize. Not only is remote technology connecting students with teachers from afar, it’s also inviting psychiatrists, social workers, and therapists to the conversation. Telehealth services allow an accessible, team-based approach to student care.

 

Why Counselors Should Train in Telehealth 

The flexibility of online counseling allows therapists to transition from in-person therapy to a virtual office, a trend that has become even more appealing since the COVID-19 public health crisis. But without adequate telemental health training, licensed counselors may find themselves at a disadvantage.

Regardless of the practice format, online and in-person counselors should apply the ethical wisdom to only practice within their scope of competence. With a high-quality training program, you will feel more comfortable as an online counselor and carry less risk as a telemental health provider. Before jumping into virtual sessions with clients, a training program can show you what skills–or instructional content areas–will help shape your telemental health practice. Discovering your knowledge gaps is often the first step to achieving telehealth competency.

Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The most recent figures from 2017 show that an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode. That’s about 7% of all adults.

People struggling with depression often complain of sleeping too much and feeling fatigued. They will put off getting help until the depression starts having major impacts on their home and work life - until they feel overwhelmed and like they can no longer keep up. When they do finally get counseling, they may show up for therapy exhausted and stuck in negative thought patterns, ruminating over the same dark scenarios.

 

The counseling profession has struggled with barriers to delivering mental health services to clients across state lines since the conception of licensure law. Most states require counselors to be licensed in the state where the client resides. This means clients have to find a new counselor if they move out of state. It also limits telehealth options for many clients.

To address this dilemma the American Counseling Association (ACA) – in collaboration with the National Center for Interstate Compacts (NCIC) – has been working on an interstate licensure compact. This compact would create licensure portability for professional counselors – creating a way for counselors to practice in multiple states.

To explore what the interstate compact would mean for counselors, Raymond Barrett, CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute (TCI), interviewed Dr. Lynn Linde, chief knowledge and learning officer at ACA.

 

Many clinicians are quite adept at using technology, yet the competencies that are required when providing telehealth services are not so evident. Raymond Barrett created this recorded course as an overview of all topics regarding telemental health.  It is not meant to address all of the areas of telehealth, but instead is offered so that you can assess your own level of competency and provide clinicians with the "broad strokes" of the competencies of telehealth. Topics addressed include: why telemental health is an important option for clients, the benefits (and drawbacks) of telemental health, how US licensure law impacts telemental health, telemental health-specific ethical standards, and preparing clients for a session.

We are pleased to offer this one-hour video for FREE to anyone by clicking the "Play" option on the video above.

In addition to the video training, if you would like to earn 1 CE credit, you can do that by enrolling in the one-hour self-study course for $20

woman looking at video meeting on laptop

Video Conferencing Has Negatively Impacted Some Individuals’ Self-Image

Many of us shifted big chunks of our lives online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have virtual visits with our clients, our doctors, our friends – even our families. Video conferencing has literally been a lifesaver, but a bad side effect has cropped up – a new disorder dubbed  “Zoom Dysmorphia.”

The problem is that most video conferencing platforms automatically display all participants – including ourselves. And many of us don’t like what we see. A recent study of more than 100 board-certified dermatologists published in the January 2021 issue of the International Journal of Women's Dermatology found an increase in patients seeking out cosmetic procedures to improve their appearance on video conference calls. According to the study, after hours of fixating on their small, often distorted image, during video conference calls, some people are developing a negative self-image.

The National Conference of State Legislators report estimated that telehealth users would increase from 250,000 in 2013 to 3.2 million in 2018—but no one could have expected the surge that erupted out of the COVID-19 pandemic, a public health fiasco that rapidly shut the door on in-school learning for K-12 students.

Teachers and students aren’t the only ones adopting new classroom procedures. Telehealth platforms have also enabled nursing departments to reach students who are isolated, undergoing COVID-19 quarantine, or who cannot physically meet in-person for an appointment with the school nurse. As CNBC’s Bertha Coombs emphasized, telehealth interactions—including those with children, families, and adults—neared 1 billion visits toward the end of 2020. Both the National Association of Student Nurses (NASN) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have endorsed a holistic, whole-student model that could include a telehealth option.

If you just started offering telemental health sessions, or you’d like to refresh your virtual professionalism, this telehealth etiquette guide includes practical, actionable ideas. As a therapy delivery method, telehealth expands your clinical practice options and your client base. But since most counseling programs train therapists to deliver in-person services to individuals, families, and couples, pivoting to telehealth can be challenging. 

Below are some telehealth etiquette tips to keep in mind:

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This course was extremely helpful understanding the legal requirements for interstate telehealth counseling.
Donald Kirk Henderson
Licensed Professional Counselor / Milestone Family Resources
This course is providing me with valuable information that will be helpful in providing competent and effective services for clients.
Nancy Sweet-Holp, LMSW
Therapist / Liberty House of Albany

The course was very detailed and informative. It covered everything that is necessary to work with Tele mental health.

Cynthia Allison
Mental health Counselor / Friendly Therapy LLC
Very informative. I learned things that I wasn't aware of about state laws!
Tamara Coleman
Counselor / Tamara Coleman Counseling LLC
Necessary technological guidance!
Frances D Murdock
I took the Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider Training Certification Course in 2018, I feel so lucky to have found the TeleHealth Certification Institute. It's a top notch training center which has continued to provide me with tools and the knowledge to grow my private teletherapy practice. I recently participated in the TeleMental Health Preparedness Summit 2020 and was definitely not disappointed. The excitement and enthusiasm from the participants and TeleHealth Certification Institute staff is contagious. I've been inspired, since, to look into taking more courses, and joined their FaceBook group. I will likely join their consultation group in the near future. I don't believe there is another training institute out there that is as good as this one for everything telebehavioral health. Thank you Ray! You are a visionary!
Larissa Golloub, LCSW-R
Psychotherapist, solo practitioner / Larissa Golloub, LCSW
Great, course. Really helped me during this challenging time to connect with students.
Priscilla Robinson
School Counselor / Baltimore County Public Schools
Amazing and relevant information conveyed over excellent format. This is a professional organization worth joining.
Summer Allan Wilson LCSW-S; Nationally Certified TFCBT
Pediatric Psychotherapist / East Texas Family Guidance Center
This course was eye opening and highlighted some definite areas for improvement to better address emergency management planning.
Nikkita Scott
Director of Counselling & Student Activities / Bbermuda College
I learned a lot in this course and will put what I learned into practice when I move my home office space.
Raymond Corbo
Clinical Supervisor and Counselor / Redeemer Counseling Services
Wonderful free training. Helpful discussion on how to aid clients in breaking out of the negative thought trap.
Jaime Wright
The course was so informative and I was glued to my screen for the entire duration. I received so much knowledge concerning ethics in telehealth and I am greatly encouraged to read about all the standards and policies that pertain to my practice. Thank you!
Bridgette Nalumu
Public health consultant / Green and Purple Consultancy Network
Very informative training, instruction was clear and easy to follow
Jill Bogan-El
Therapist
This was quite beneficial. You explained well at a comfortable pace and you provided sufficient details for me to develop an Emergency Management Plan. Thank you!
Dr. STEPHEN KIURI GITONGA
Very well done. Encourages active engagement in telemental health process while guiding effectively.
Chris Brotherton
Marriage and Family Therapist / Addiction Counselor / Brotherton Counseling LLC
I really gained a deeper understanding of Telehealth. I think this course helps pave the way for success in our field. This was very convenient. I am so blessed to take a course like this during the crisis we are facing as a nation. This course really helps me perform at a high level for my job. THANKS!!!!!!!
Jackie Tanna
Therapist / Region One Mental Health
Educational and informative content that was easy to follow and comprehend.
Scott Lipp, Ph.D., LMHC, LAC, NCC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor; Adjunct Professor / Greater Things, LLC; Florida Atlantic University
This course was very interesting and allowing me to understand the way telementalhealth services need to work correctly.
Patricia A Hill
Mental Health Counselor II and LCDC, MAC / Central County Services
Easily one of the best online or in-person workshops I have ever attended. The information was unbelievably relevant to current practice with our students doing e-learning and having to provide online therapy and support. Thank you so much for this workshop and the information.
Vincent Amador
School Psychologist / Thornridge High School
Brillant concept and a great way to support counselors as they transition into on-line therapy/services.
Bianca Abrams
License Professional Counselor / The Wellness Institute of Atlanta
It was one of the best courses I’ve attended; clear, well-structured, creative, transparent and professional! Bravo.
Elizabeth Tramonte, PsyD
Private Practitioner / Elizabeth Tramonte PC
This course was very informative and very relevant to today's telehealth practices!
Keith Ayson
Housing Case Manager / Bridgeways
Vey helpful and user friendly. Most importantly informative. Very good information to enhance an individual's practice.
La Keicia Boyd
Licensed Professional Counselor / Private Practice
Courses were very informative! Extremely helpful!
Carron D. Alexander
LPC / Premier Counseling Services
The training was very informative, there was more in-depth information to the details of privacy and HIPAA on an electronic level that I was not aware of. The more technological part of it was new information to me.
Nellie Decker
Therapist II / Yakama Nation Behavioral Health
Very informative! Well organized! Takeaway- protect yourself- know your ethical code and standards/ be insured.
Brenda Staerker
Private practice / Thaxton Holistic Wellness
The training was well structured and presented by a knowledge individual. Information shared in the training was useful, clear, and concise and can easily be incorporated into future practice techniques.
Dora Falls
LPC, MAC Private Practice - / Private Practice
This course is more comprehensive than all the other HIPAA courses I've taken combined.
Michelle R. Gould, LMHC
Mental Health Counselor
Thank you for an informational, relevant course to help me obtain my TMH certificate. Excellent presentation.
Tomica Horton
counselor/therapist / Jodi Province Counseling Services