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Displaying items by tag: Clinical Insights

As telehealth becomes a more established practice for both clinicians and their clients, the convenience of it opens many doors to both the busy and the disabled. However, as we shift more attention to telehealth practice and develop that as an option to clients, it's important to understand the ways that cyber communication can affect both the relationship and individual. While telehealth appointments offer many advantages to clients and clinicians, understanding the limitations of them, and the nuance of how they affect bonding and trust is key to developing trust and the ability to help your clients. People act differently, depending on their setting, and that is especially true when placed against the semi-anonymity of the internet. 

 

Hyper Personal Effect Theory

Developed by Joseph Walther in 1996, hyper personal effect theory was a theory that came from studying the effects of commuters in mediated conversation, and it a theory that should be kept in mind when dealing with clients via text based exchanges. Walther suggests that visual and verbal cues are key components in developing relationships, and the lack of them in cyber communications can lead to deeper and intimate connections quicker than in other situations. Cyber communications can be a beneficial way of communicating with clients, but the nature of text based communication without the benefit of verbal or visual components is that there is more time to craft an image, tailor it to the perceived wants and desires of the other party, and present that image in the best possible light. Without tonal inflection to read and body language to assess, the only thing to go on is the words on a screen. It is important to keep hyper personal effect theory in mind when communicating with clients, but also when discussing their own relationships--more and more frequently, people are finding friendship and romantic relationships in online spaces, and the immediacy of the relationships found there can become an emotional problem--for clients who spend the majority of their social interactions in online spaces, understanding hyper personal effect theory and what bearing it might have on those developing relationships is an essential piece of their care.

Published in Blog
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Tuesday, 28 September 2021 20:43

How Bias Can Affect Mandated Reporters

In this interview, Dr. Kathryn Krase shares her professional advice on mandated reporting with Ray Barrett, the CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute. Dr. Krase is a lawyer, social worker, and an expert in preparing professionals in the ethical reporting of suspected child maltreatment. She is the co-author of two books: Child Welfare: Preparing Social Workers for Practice in the Field (2021), and, Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect: A Practical Guide for Social Workers (2009). Over the past decade, the main subject of her research and writing has been the disproportionate representation of BIPOC children in reports to child protective services, and the role that bias plays in the making of those reports. As an expert in mandated reporting bias, Dr. Krase examines how bias disproportionately affects families who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). For example, according to Dr. Krase, 25% of the 4 million yearly reports are made against Black children, while only 15% of the U.S. child population is Black.

Dr. Krase’s holistic orientation on reporting stems from her early work experience at the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children—the first child advocacy organization in the world—and her role as a practitioner at the family level. By using current research studies, Dr. Krase presents key topics such as overreporting consequences, mandated reporter requirements, and the legal protections that help clinicians make ethical decisions.

Dr. Krase encourages practitioners of all levels to use self-reflection as they confront their own backgrounds. Since beliefs or assumptions as a reporter can impact who is reported, familiarizing yourself with circumstances that have bias potential can prepare you for tough situations. You can listen now to learn more about this much-needed professional practice area!

You can read more about Dr. Krase on her website here and about her work with mandated reporting here.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 28 September 2021 20:31

Emergency Response and Resilence

Resilience, Self Care, and ‘Battle Buddies’ for Behavioral Health Professionals

A community coming together to rebuild after a devastating tornado; homeless veterans learning to reclaim their lives and dignity; addicts struggling to set aside drugs.

All of these people have something in common: resilience, and a need for self care. 

Dr. Stephanie Felder, PhD, LCSW, has witnessed this resilience over and over again in her multiple roles in social work and public service. She is a Commander (CDR) in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), and recently transitioned to the Office of the Surgeon General where she is the lead licensed clinical social worker for the public health emergency response strike team.

In all of her roles, she has seen resilience among people in all stations in life, and she has watched them learn that self care is key to surviving and thriving.

She also learned that resilience and self care are important for herself - and for all behavioral health professionals.

In a recent interview with Ray Barrett, CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute (TCI), Dr. Felder shared how her career path led her on a journey of discovery about resilience and self care.

“I started my career in social services in North Carolina and then moved to a state position as a

licensed clinical social worker in a residential treatment program. Shortly after that, I moved to a position as the health care coordinator for homeless veterans in Fayetteville, North Carolina. That position was pretty amazing. I learned a lot about homeless veterans

and their needs.”

Dr. Felder was so inspired by those veterans that she became active duty herself. She took a position with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

“When I became active duty I entered into the public health service - that was the start of all of my deployments - and the start of my understanding of the real importance of self-care.”

“I started to deploy around 2017 and that's when the tempo really picked up for me. Hurricane Harvey - I went out for that. Then in 2018 I went out for Hurricane Florence which was in Clayton, North Carolina.”

Felder recalled the stress of receiving a field promotion - she was sent out to do a job, then get a new assignment when she was in the field. 

“That was pretty intense and scary - anxiety-provoking for me because it was a true leadership position in the field, and it was also in North Carolina. The people I was seeing felt like family because I'm from South Carolina, and I had lived in North Carolina. It was personal and self-care was definitely important during that mission -  trying to manage the job, but also to manage my own emotions.”

“I also saw the resilience in communities when I went out to Oklahoma after some major tornadoes. Just seeing that community come back together and build, and the support that you saw just coming from all other states and all around - that is when I realized the true importance of resilience and self-care.”

Dr. Felder also worked at the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) managing HIV AIDS grants. “I realized the importance of self-care and resilience among these communities. The people work really hard in the Ryan White program. They provide services to people that are underserved and otherwise wouldn't receive that high level of medical care.”

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, Dr. Felder was in New York as the behavioral health officer in charge. “Seeing everything that was happening - it was just...it was definitely life-changing.”

During emergencies, social workers, Dr. Felder said, are expected to put the interest of others and the community ahead of their own interests. 

“You serve,” she said. “We're helping people find family members, or we're helping people find a new living place.”

But often, the emergency responders and social workers need help, too.

“It can become overwhelming when you're out there, and you're trying to keep all the balls in the air.”

Dr. Felder had some tips for mental health professionals responding to a crisis:

  • Be aware of your environment - whether it's a disaster environment or a domestic dispute. 
  • Walk in with an open mind and be observant of your surroundings.
  • Build rapport and mutual respect by listening and understanding.
  • Establish with the person or the community that this is a safe space and that you are there to listen. 

Dr. Felder said self-care is vital during a crisis, but she acknowledged it is something she still is working on for herself. “It's easy to say it, but it's hard to practice what you preach.”

At some point, though, you have to realize you must take care of your own needs. “It's hard to help others and give to others when there's nothing left for you,” she said.

What does Dr. Felder do to recharge?

“I do yoga and meditation. I try to make sure that I have regular exercise. All of those help me to ground myself and decompress.”

When she’s deployed, Dr. Felder also has a very important resource - “battle buddies.” A battle buddy is a trusted colleague that will call her out if they see her in distress. That is the person that comes to her to say, “hey, you know you're not headed in the right direction.”

“The idea is that with your battle buddy you don't become defensive. You say, ‘Let me let me take a moment and evaluate this - yes you're right,’” Dr. Felder said.

If she does get angry, the battle buddy knows it’s their job to be the calm one. “The battle buddy - they do not back down. They stand their ground,” she said.

All of us in behavioral health might take a cue from Dr. Felder and find our own battle buddies, and then be a battle buddy for someone else.

 

By Amanda Barnett, LPC, EdS, NCC

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 28 September 2021 20:13

How COVID-19 has Impacted Teens' Mental Health

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other major public health organizations, have recognized the mental health effects of COVID-19 on youth—consequences that can be seen in virtually every aspect of teenage life.  

Knowing how to help struggling young adults is not always so easy. Luckily, there are proactive steps that you can take to improve student wellbeing as they navigate the pandemic. Encouraging self-expression, providing accurate information, teaching ways to stay healthy, and noticing changes in behavior—such as unhealthy eating habits, poor sleep schedules, or variations in activity levels—are just a few ways to reassure young adults that they’re safe.

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Tuesday, 28 September 2021 19:43

How Students Benefit from Telepsychiatry

Telepsychiatry is now the second-most used form of telemedicine and has helped clinical professionals (as well as students undergoing graduate school training) utilize video conferencing and digital devices for patient visits and their own self-care (Lavergne & Kennedy, 2021). 

In a recent study, Lavergne and Kennedy (2021) explored how willing medical students were to use telepsychiatry during clinical visits—and how well universities supported telepsychiatry learning environments. In their research, Lavergne and Kennedy highlighted the transformative power of telemedicine education. When asked to rate the following statement—that telemedicine and in-person visits were of equal effectiveness—respondents gave this question the lowest confidence score. Students rated this same statement in one of the highest outcome categories after they underwent telemedicine training (Walker et al., 2019; as cited in Lavergne & Kennedy, 2021).

Published in Blog
Thursday, 19 August 2021 16:50

The Psychosocial Aspects of a Pandemic Virus

The human spirit and soul are at stake for clients and mental health professionals at the epicenter of the COVID Generation. The surge of medical, physical, and mental health disorders, the stench of death in hospitals and tent cities that are lying on the coronavirus battlefield, reminds us of the frailty of human life. There is no beginning, middle, and end to a viral contagion that can morph into mutant variants and be transmissible within 24 hours. This is because infectious diseases and lethal viruses have been present throughout human history since the beginning of time.

Published in Blog
Monday, 19 July 2021 12:35

Effects of COVID on Telehealth

Telehealth Hit its Stride as COVID-19 Raged

Telehealth sprinted from being an underutilized way to deliver healthcare to being a widely used essential service when COVID-19 hit the U.S. in early 2020. Now that vaccines are available and many pandemic restrictions are being lifted - a big push is underway to keep the expanded telehealth services from slowing to a crawl.

Published in Blog
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Wednesday, 26 May 2021 13:08

Telebehavioral Health Competencies

Teletherapy Competencies, the What and How

We’re always eager to talk about telemental health competencies and how important they are to teletherapy training programs, but it can be difficult to determine which educational content areas are most useful for you. Universities considering graduate program competencies in telebehavioral health training for their staff and/or students may be seeking guidance in selecting the most effective program. In this article, we describe the course qualities that are often seen in relevant, well-rounded telemental health programs. Using current teletherapy research studies, you’ll see how similar teletherapy competencies are gaining prominence across numerous clinical professionsand why you could benefit from learning them.

Published in Blog

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.

Published in Blog

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. 

Published in Blog
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