Telehealth Certification Institute

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Disaster and Trauma Response for the 21st Century:

Operation Mind, Body, and Spiritual Resiliency

In the early morning hours of September 11, 2001, one of the largest person-made disasters in U.S. history took place killing nearly 3,000 Americans with over 6,000 others severely injured. Two jets crashed into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda Terrorists. The Twin Towers collapsed in less than two hours. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth plane, heading towards Washington D.C. crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, PA. where several brave passengers blocked the hijackers’ efforts. This was the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil in American history. Hence, the war on terrorism began.

Stressed Male Clinician on a phone call trying to Prevent Malpractice Lawsuits and Board Complaints

How to Prevent Malpractice Lawsuits and Board Complaints

What You Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask

Perhaps nothing provokes more anxiety than the prospect or reality of facing a malpractice lawsuit or a licensing board complaint.  As an attorney with almost 40 years of experience in representing healthcare and behavioral healthcare providers, I would love to offer you a foolproof way to prevent such events.  Unfortunately, that is magical thinking. However there are many steps you can take to minimize your risk of exposure and to maximize your chance of a successful outcome if you are served with a lawsuit or a board complaint.  Before providing you with a risk management toolkit, some background information and advice is essential.

Maximize your Insurance.

Female Clinician in a Motivational Interview Session with her Patient

Using Motivational Interviewing in Clinical Supervision

Many clinical supervision models identify 3 stages of supervisee development: Beginning, Middle, and Advanced. Motivational Interviewing (MI) skills are easily adaptable to these 3 stages of supervisee development and can help to provide direction for the clinical supervisor in the supervisory sessions. 

Returning to the Office

To Be or Not To Be: An Update on Returning to the Office

The COVID-19 pandemic has been in place since March of 2020, almost three years. The majority of clinical social workers, and other mental health clinicians, have been providing mental health services virtually during this time.  The initial switch from seeing patients in-person to seeing them virtually was a difficult one for many clinicians, even one that violated the way that some Codes of Ethics say that psychotherapy should be practiced.  

The question of whether psychotherapy should be conducted through videoconferencing or audio-only platforms has shifted to whether it is safe to return to the office to provide the ever-increasing need for mental health treatment (from 20% to 50% of the country).  About 30-40% of clinicians have decided to maintain their practices virtually and have given up their offices.  For clinicians who have been debating whether they want to return to the office and/or are anxious to do so, there are several factors to consider, as follows:

Health Practitioner using a computer to Establishing Rapport in Telehealth

Technology's Role in Establishing Rapport in Telehealth Encounters

There are many factors that contribute to the success of a telehealth encounter, as there are many factors that contribute to the success of an in-person encounter. Ideally technology should not represent a barrier or challenge to conducting a successful telehealth visit, especially in terms of establishing a feeling of rapport between patient and provider. Technology is just the means to accomplish an end – providing effective and efficient healthcare to patients. The expectation that it is the same as in-person is misplaced as the expectation really is that it should be equivalent. It cannot be denied that the use of technology as a means of communication fundamentally changes the nature of an encounter. This change however should not be regarded as negative – there are actually some people who communicate better virtually than in person and vice versa. The differences between in-person and virtual encounters need to be acknowledged and participants need to be aware of these differences and learn how to adjust their actions and communication styles to accommodate the differences.

VR for Mental Health Sessions

We've invited Terrance Williams, founder of Meta Wellness. His company provides virtual reality platforms for mental health professionals to host their Telehealth sessions in virtual reality. Terrance has been a pivotal pioneer in bringing Telehealth into the next stage of technology: Virtual Reality.

Meta Wellness specializes in creating virtual reality spaces for behavioral health clinicians and their clients in the metaverse. Terrance was inspired by the virtual reality space a couple of years ago. He wanted to make a valuable impact in the telehealth space by creating virtual reality platforms that were fun, challenging, and different. Terrance prides himself on making clients feel less shamed and judged in sessions within the creative digital spaces. He shared that a mental health therapist just recently thanked him for saving clients' lives by developing this innovative and interactive platform.

Open hands showing State-of-the-Art Technology Standards in Social Work

State-of-the-Art Technology Standards in Social Work

Like all behavioral health professionals, social workers are making increased use of technology to deliver services to clients, communicate with clients, gather information about clients, and educate students and practitioners. The advent of technology—including the Internet, text (SMS), email, video, social media and networking, cloud storage, and other forms of digital communication and software—has introduced novel and unprecedented ethical and risk management challenges. These dramatic changes in the ways that social workers use technology have led to major efforts to develop new standards in the profession. These efforts have occurred in three distinct, albeit related, domains: (1) practice standards, (2) regulatory and licensing standards, and (3) code of ethics standards. It is essential that today's social workers be thoroughly familiar with these significant developments to ensure that their practice complies with prevailing standards.

Student in Virtual Psychological Support Session

Virtual Psychological Support for Students

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many educational systems have adapted their service delivery model to serve the needs of students. The impact of COVID-19 continues to disrupt traditional forms of education, and many schools and universities have turned to virtual learning to continue providing education to students. While virtual learning can offer flexibility and convenience, it can also bring its own challenges that can negatively impact students' mental health. Providing psychological support to students in a virtual context is essential to ensure their well-being and academic success.