Recently, Ray Barrett sat down to interview Laura Groshong about the field of social work and the direction in which the field is headed. Laura is a licensed clinical social worker and has been in clinical practice for the past 43 years. She was a registered lobbyist in Washington for five mental health organizations for 25 years. She has been the director of policy and practice for the Clinical Social Work Association nationally since 2006. Laura’s diverse range of experiences allows her to bring a wealth of knowledge to the field. Her passion for social work developed while she was working in the foster care system. She fell in love with the field but decided to pursue the mental health route. 

Recently, Ray Barrett sat down to interview Sam Johnson, LPC, IFS, and EMDR therapist, to discuss providing Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy online. Prior to the pandemic, Sam was providing telehealth to clients. As a provider living in a rural area, Sam began offering telehealth early to meet the needs of clients living at a distance.

Dr. Rosenna Bakari is a psychologist and the founder of Talking Trees (founded in 2010). Talking Trees is an organization that encourages survivors of childhood sexual abuse and incest to seek healing and come out of silence. Dr. Bakari has also written five books related to wellness, including her memoir. Recently, Ray Barrett sat down to interview Dr. Bakari about her work.

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.

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. 

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.