In May of 2021, the Association for Play Therapy (APT) released their voluntary practice guidelines for play therapists. This guide outlined key recommendations for conducting safe, effective, and ethically-appropriate therapy sessions. We’ve included our 5 main takeaways from the APT guide, so that you can better assess your level of clinical competence.

When it comes to your telehealth practice, choosing the right technology is quite important! Technology malfunctions can cause hiccups during healthcare appointments and faulty audio devices can cause practitioners to miss critical information. Recently, TCI CEO Raymond Barrett reviewed the pros/cons of various microphones he utilizes while practicing telemental health. 

HIPAA and TeleMental Health: Get Compliant!

Is your telemental health practice HIPAA compliant? It’s a question that can cause a knot in the stomach of even the most experienced telemental health professionals. For those just starting out in telehealth, it may even cause a bout of panic. Exactly how does HIPAA impact counselors who are using telehealth? Are the rules different than the rules for in-person therapy?

Even if you’ve taken a continuing education class covering HIPAA, it may not have covered telemental health and you may have questions. 

Let’s start with some basics: 

How to Increase Diversity and Equity in Mental Health? Be Curious. Be Brave.

People of color need counseling. And they want it. But there are barriers, including barriers unwittingly put up by counselors. 

“Communities of color are not always aware of the benefits of counseling,” said Dr. Kim Lee Hughes, President of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD). AMCD’s mission includes recognizing diversity in our society and enhancing the development, human rights, and the psychological health of ethnic/racial populations and all people.

Hughes adds that in some communities of color, individuals may not be aware of how to find a counselor or how to use their insurance.

Maybe you tried telehealth for your counseling practice during the COVID-19 shutdown, and you’ve decided you would like to stick with it. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to go all-in on telehealth but weren’t sure you could get enough clients to sustain your business.

The good news is that many counselors are successfully carrying a full caseload of telehealth clients.

How do they do it? And how long does it take to get a full caseload if you only see clients via 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. 

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.