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How to Train Students in TeleMental Health

In this video interview, you’ll hear how Texas Tech University Health Science Center's Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program - directed by Dr. Logan Winkelman - is training graduate students in telemental health competencies through their innovative online counseling curriculum.

Telehealth and telemental health services can be thought of as essential modalities that fill a crucial gap in service delivery. Dr. Winkelman explains that, at some point, students will “offer some form of telecounseling” during their careers, so learning it during a master’s program can give students a leg up once they graduate.

Dr. Winkelman points out that most training vendors have a broader focus on “telehealth or telemedicine [content, but it] …just doesn’t dive deep enough for [learning] telemental health counseling.” Dr. Winkelman decided to outsource the program’s telemental health training to the Telehealth Certification Institute (TCI) because she didn’t want to be “behind the curve” on evolving online counseling standards. For Dr. Winkelman, the underlying message was clear—it’s “too big of a topic to get wrong.”

Because TCI’s 10-course TeleMental Health Training Certificate (THTC) Program provides graduates eligibility to sit for the Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider (BC-TMH) credential—which has been approved by the Center for Credentialing & Education—there’s an immense added value for new mental health counselors. As soon as graduate students apply for their first job, they demonstrate a commitment to offering alternative counseling options that meet client needs; and since the online environment is so complex, students with advanced training can become online leaders and advocates at their practicum sites.  

According to Dr. Winkelman, the need for telehealth counseling skills “is not going anywhere,” and “offers the opportunity for clients to get counseling services that they wouldn’t otherwise take advantage of.” To be an inclusive mental health professional, it’s important to utilize a variety of strategies and technologies to make counseling possible for everyone.

Logan Winkelman, Ph.D., LPC-S, NCC, is an Assistant Professor and Program Director for the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She has worked in higher education for the past 9+ years. Her scholarly interests include access to mental health and wellness resources through telehealth, emotional intelligence, biofeedback, as well as aging and longevity topics. To learn more about, Dr. Winkelman or the Texas Tech Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, you can visit the counseling homepage.

By Michael Tugendhat

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