FAQ & Ask A Question

 

Providers

I have both face-to-face and online clients. Can I utilize iTherapy services for both?

Absolutely! iTherapy services are set up to be utilized for all types of clients. Many providers see clients only face-to-face, many online only and many utilize both methods.

Do I have to utilize one iTherapy’s pricing packages?

Not necessarily. The packages have been developed to serve some of providers needs and to make it simple to select. However, you can request a Customized Quote and the package and pricing will be developed to your specific requirements.

Are iTherapy’s services secure?

All of our services are HIPAA compliant and are backed with a BAA (Business Associate Agreement).

How do I find out about becoming a provider?

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a provider or schedule a demonstration, click here: Contact Us.

How are appointments scheduled with me?

Once a potential client has selected you, they can submit a “Request an Appointment” where they fill out name, whether they are a new or existing client, country, state, email, telephone number (optional), preferred contact method, type of appointment requested and any comments. This will then be sent to you via email and you can then contact the client to answer any questions or schedule the appointment.

Can I do an online session from anywhere?

Yes, anywhere with a connection. This enables staying in touch with clients after a move, while travelling or even during a vacation. You will want to take all security precautions (confidentiality, etc.) as you would with any client in any situation.

How can I contact you?

You can contact iTherapy by calling 800-432-7996, by visiting the Contact Us page or emailing us at info@itherapy.com.

Do you feel this style of practice will help you reach harder to access clients?

Yes! Online counseling helps to reach clients that might not otherwise seek counseling.

This platform enables folks who cannot access treatment for a variety of reasons to do so. Clients who have mobility limitations, have a new born child, have no childcare support, who reside in more rural areas with fewer resources, have busy schedules or travel alot, and those with more severe anxiety presentations can be reached with online counseling.

Some clients are able to be more open and honest during phone sessions than they had ever been in a traditional setting. Many individuals who travel for business and have never been able to attend therapy sessions on a regular basis before are able to now. Clients can also attend video sessions from their car or office on their lunch hour when they do not have time for counseling otherwise. In rural areas that experience a lot of snow, the iTherapy platform has made it possible to continuing seeing clients on a regular basis.

How can I deal with safety issues with someone who may be hundreds or thousands of miles away?

Each Mental Healthcare Provider approaches this concern as they see fit. The decision is up to you.

Some Providers’ initial intake paperwork requires the client’s physical address and emergency contact information. Some Providers require clients to give them the physical address from which they are videoing at the beginning of each session. Should there be an emergency, they can call the police/ambulance to get to them. Just as in face to face practice, they review safety procedures and who the client would call in an emergency setting if they cannot reach their provider. Some may worry that a crisis could arise and they would not know where the client is physically located, however this could happen with clients that are seen face to face as well.

So just as in a traditional setting, you can take all of the appropriate measures and respond to each situation as best you can.

Are there some issues or techniques that seem to work better online than in person?

The most striking benefit of online therapy may be the ease of providing interventions in the environment where a problem occurs. Many cognitive behavioral interventions for phobias and anxiety involve directly engaging in therapy exercises in the environment where the anxiety occurs. Online counseling provides the unique opportunity to do this without compromising confidentiality. For example, if a client struggles with claustrophobia, the Provider could schedule a video-session on the client’s smart phone then conduct therapy exercises in an elevator.

Often Providers use the same approaches as an in office setting and find they are just as effective in an online setting. You can utilize worksheets and handouts from the iTherapy.com website and find that using the additional tools and resources helps the clients to feel connected and allows them to feel that they are getting the same level of treatment as they would in an office setting.
.

How effective is online therapy for treating anxiety? Are there advantages?

Yes, there are many advantages and it is quiet effective! Convenience is a big one – you can participate in therapy wherever you are! Additionally, most Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatments for anxiety involve going out to where your anxiety occurs to complete practice exercises. With online therapy you can actually bring your therapist with you via smart phone.

What location code do I use for my billing? Most insurance companies that I have inquired about online services have always said they do not reimburse for anything other than in-office or in-home service location codes.

Some insurance companies may use the in office code with a GT or GQ modifier depending on whether the appointment is video, phone or Asynchronous communication such as email. Most providers can easily see telehealth clients who are in the states that they are licensed in. For other states you can check the guidelines for each state. Many allow you to see clients for a certain number of sessions even if you are not licensed in that particular state. Check with insurance carriers that you are paneled with to ensure that you are authorized to provide services and will be appropriately reimbursed. Most states now require that insurance companies reimburse providers at the same rate for telehealth as they do for in office, so you may want to check with them again.
The American Telemedicine Organization is a great resource for up to date information regarding telehealth regulations. Medicaid is also very flexible about telehealth services and payment.

How do I set up proper boundaries with my patients?

Providers can schedule appointments for online sessions just as they do in office sessions. Clients have set appointment times and that is when they meet. Just as with face to face clients, they call in the case of an emergency and if they cannot reach you they would follow the procedures that are outlined during their intake session.

Do clients feel as connected in their sessions?

Feedback received from clients indicate that they feel very connected in online sessions. From the Providers’ perspective, they feel that there is a strong connection as there are no distractions and both the client and the therapist are focused on each other and the session.
Providers can utilize worksheets and handouts from the iTherapy.com website and have found that using the additional tools and resources helps the clients to feel connected and allows them to feel that they are getting the same level of treatment as they would in an office setting.

How do you keep HIPPA intact on a home computer?

iTherapy provides the HIPAA compliant notes, video, phone, fax and email platform. By using iTherapy services you know that all of your documents and communication meet HIPAA requirements. Having a computer dedicated to your private practice whether that is online or in office is a good practice.

What are some of the pros and cons of online therapy as compared to in-office therapy?

Finding the right therapist is essential. When looking for a therapist, sometimes it is hard for a client to find one locally who is a good match. When clients can expand the search beyond their commuting zone, they are able to find someone that fits. That’s a huge perk. When researchers look at “what makes therapy work”, the therapeutic relationship is one of the biggest predictors of therapeutic change/benefit.

Convenience for clients is also really important. Some clients that literally could not attend in person therapy (e.g. have a new born child and no childcare support, travel extensively for work, work/commute too many hours to attend in person therapy, etc.) are able to now. It’s really nice to be able to offer therapy to folks who might not have access to it otherwise.

Do you have any resources/knowledge regarding laws/guidelines on practicing internationally? Or any tips on how to market to international clients?

Yes! In the U.S. the general standard is that you need to see clients who reside in the state/s you are licensed in. State laws generally do not apply to what you do out of state (though I’d always check and double check ideas through your state licensing board), so some are able to offer therapy to clients overseas. This depends on the country and their laws about credentialing. For example, a Provider sees clients in Thailand and this is totally within both the guidelines of his/her state and that country. You have to do legwork to find out the rules for each country.

You can also Google “international psychology” or something to that effect, and you’ll find a few sites that allow you to list yourself as a provider in various countries. This is mostly as service for ex-pats looking to find a native English speaker to provide therapy while they are overseas.

You could also join some ex-pat forums online. As you build community there, you can learn more about what services might be needed and if yours would be a good fit. I find that building community (genuinely) is the best “marketing” tool there is. Real relationships, lead to real connections.

What are some challenges with online therapy, in general, that you hope to have resolved?

In physical practice, sometimes you can hear the therapist in the office next to you. And that office buildings have regular “fire alarm drills” interrupting sessions. You get interruptions with online work too. For example, if you have a dog…it could decide to bark while you are working!! Or, the fed ex guy might knock on the door to deliver a package. You can work around these things with sound machines purchased online but it’s still something you have to think through and work around.

Online therapy needs to be just as professional as any other therapy. The setting you provide, particularly in a video environment, and your approach needs to be just as professional as in an office. In that it is “online”, technology can always be an issue. Have the right setup (internet access, camera, etc.) is important and having a backup plan in case of technical difficulties provides another level of comfort for both the therapist and the client. Also, online counseling is not meant for every client and every circumstance. More critical issues and situations may be best dealt with in a face-to-face environment.


 

Clients

How can I contact you?

You can contact iTherapy by calling 800-432-7996, by visiting the Contact Us page or emailing us at info@itherapy.com.

How do I get started?

First, you select your counselor, then select Request an Appointment and an email will be sent to the counselor. The counselor will respond to you within 24 hours.

Is online counseling right for me?

Are you comfortable using phone, video, email and/or chat for an online counseling session? Are you nervous about having a face-to-face counseling session, but feel that you help with depression or anxiety? Is your schedule full and you find it difficult to find the time to travel to traditional counseling appointments? Are you lacking time, but can be on the computer after hours when traditional counseling offices are closed? Are you busy, but can schedule time before work, at lunch, or after hours? Do you desire some connection with a counselor, but not face-to-face counseling sessions at this time?

If you answered yes to at least 3 of these questions you are a great candidate for one of our iTherapy counselors!

Is online counseling service secure?

Technology has become an essential part of all of our lives- it can even be useful in personal growth work. While using the internet as a mode of communication for therapy may seem somewhat unconventional, online video conferencing is an effective, confidential and convenient alternative to face-to-face sessions.

iTherapy uses an SSL certificate that supports both industry-standard 128-bit (used by all banking infrastructures to safeguard sensitive data) and high-grade 256-bit SSL encryption to secure online transactions. iTherapy is building its infrastructure to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The actual encryption strength on a secure connection using a digital certificate is determined by the level of encryption supported by the user’s browser and the server that the web site resides on. For example, the combination of a Firefox® browser and our Web server enables up to 256-bit AES encryption with our SSL certificate.

Encryption strength is measured in key length-number of bits in the key. To decipher an SSL communication, one needs to generate the correct decoding key. Mathematically speaking, 2n possible values exist for an n-bit key. Thus, 40-bit encryption involves 240 possible values. 128- and 256-bit keys involve a staggering 2128 and 2256 possible combinations, respectively, rendering the encrypted data de facto impervious to intrusion. Even with a brute-force attack (the process of systematically trying all possible combinations until the right one is found) cracking a 128- or 256 bit encryption is computationally unfeasible.

Is online counseling treatment effective?

The short answer to this question is yes! In perhaps one of the largest studies of tele-mental health to date, in 2012, Dr. Linda Godleski of the Yale University School of Medicine analyzed the cases of over 90,000 veterans who had participated in the VA’s tele-mental health program. Services delivered were demonstrated to be as effective (and in some cases more effective) than face to face services.

How do I protect my privacy?

At one time or another, you’ve likely used a video conferencing platform such as Skype or Google Hangout. Legitimate tele-health Providers will use a videoconferencing platform that uses encryption to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of your sessions. Services should be compliant with the standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which governs privacy standards for the electronic transmission of Protected Health Information (PHI). iTherapy’s services are fully HIPAA compliant.

Where do I go to participate in my online counseling session?

One of the major benefits of receiving psychotherapy online is the ability to hold your session from anywhere you feel comfortable: home, office, car, or out in the park. This enables folks with busy professional lives, young children at home, limited mobility, and other time/travel limitations to receive effective treatment.

Are there other benefits to online counseling?

The most striking one that comes to my mind is the ease of providing interventions in the environment where a problem occurs. For example, many cognitive behavioral interventions for phobias and anxiety involve directly engaging in therapy exercises in the environment where the anxiety occurs. Online counseling provides the unique opportunity to do this without compromising your confidentiality. For example, if you struggle with claustrophobia, you could have your therapist in a video-session your smart phone while conducting therapy exercises in an elevator.

How much does this service cost?

The cost of services varies depending up the length of time and the counselor chosen. To find about specific services and rates visit the counselor of your choice and contact them directly.


 

Ask A Question

 

Providers

I have both face-to-face and online clients. Can I utilize iTherapy services for both?

Absolutely! iTherapy services are set up to be utilized for all types of clients. Many providers see clients only face-to-face, many online only and many utilize both methods.

Do I have to utilize one iTherapy’s pricing packages?

Not necessarily. The packages have been developed to serve some of providers needs and to make it simple to select. However, you can request a Customized Quote and the package and pricing will be developed to your specific requirements.

Are iTherapy’s services secure?

All of our services are HIPAA compliant and are backed with a BAA (Business Associate Agreement).

How do I find out about becoming a provider?

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a provider or schedule a demonstration, click here: Contact Us.

How are appointments scheduled with me?

Once a potential client has selected you, they can submit a “Request an Appointment” where they fill out name, whether they are a new or existing client, country, state, email, telephone number (optional), preferred contact method, type of appointment requested and any comments. This will then be sent to you via email and you can then contact the client to answer any questions or schedule the appointment.

Can I do an online session from anywhere?

Yes, anywhere with a connection. This enables staying in touch with clients after a move, while travelling or even during a vacation. You will want to take all security precautions (confidentiality, etc.) as you would with any client in any situation.

How can I contact you?

You can contact iTherapy by calling 800-432-7996, by visiting the Contact Us page or emailing us at info@itherapy.com.

Do you feel this style of practice will help you reach harder to access clients?

Yes! Online counseling helps to reach clients that might not otherwise seek counseling.

This platform enables folks who cannot access treatment for a variety of reasons to do so. Clients who have mobility limitations, have a new born child, have no childcare support, who reside in more rural areas with fewer resources, have busy schedules or travel alot, and those with more severe anxiety presentations can be reached with online counseling.

Some clients are able to be more open and honest during phone sessions than they had ever been in a traditional setting. Many individuals who travel for business and have never been able to attend therapy sessions on a regular basis before are able to now. Clients can also attend video sessions from their car or office on their lunch hour when they do not have time for counseling otherwise. In rural areas that experience a lot of snow, the iTherapy platform has made it possible to continuing seeing clients on a regular basis.

How can I deal with safety issues with someone who may be hundreds or thousands of miles away?

Each Mental Healthcare Provider approaches this concern as they see fit. The decision is up to you.

Some Providers’ initial intake paperwork requires the client’s physical address and emergency contact information. Some Providers require clients to give them the physical address from which they are videoing at the beginning of each session. Should there be an emergency, they can call the police/ambulance to get to them. Just as in face to face practice, they review safety procedures and who the client would call in an emergency setting if they cannot reach their provider. Some may worry that a crisis could arise and they would not know where the client is physically located, however this could happen with clients that are seen face to face as well.

So just as in a traditional setting, you can take all of the appropriate measures and respond to each situation as best you can.

Are there some issues or techniques that seem to work better online than in person?

The most striking benefit of online therapy may be the ease of providing interventions in the environment where a problem occurs. Many cognitive behavioral interventions for phobias and anxiety involve directly engaging in therapy exercises in the environment where the anxiety occurs. Online counseling provides the unique opportunity to do this without compromising confidentiality. For example, if a client struggles with claustrophobia, the Provider could schedule a video-session on the client’s smart phone then conduct therapy exercises in an elevator.

Often Providers use the same approaches as an in office setting and find they are just as effective in an online setting. You can utilize worksheets and handouts from the iTherapy.com website and find that using the additional tools and resources helps the clients to feel connected and allows them to feel that they are getting the same level of treatment as they would in an office setting.
.

How effective is online therapy for treating anxiety? Are there advantages?

Yes, there are many advantages and it is quiet effective! Convenience is a big one – you can participate in therapy wherever you are! Additionally, most Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatments for anxiety involve going out to where your anxiety occurs to complete practice exercises. With online therapy you can actually bring your therapist with you via smart phone.

What location code do I use for my billing? Most insurance companies that I have inquired about online services have always said they do not reimburse for anything other than in-office or in-home service location codes.

Some insurance companies may use the in office code with a GT or GQ modifier depending on whether the appointment is video, phone or Asynchronous communication such as email. Most providers can easily see telehealth clients who are in the states that they are licensed in. For other states you can check the guidelines for each state. Many allow you to see clients for a certain number of sessions even if you are not licensed in that particular state. Check with insurance carriers that you are paneled with to ensure that you are authorized to provide services and will be appropriately reimbursed. Most states now require that insurance companies reimburse providers at the same rate for telehealth as they do for in office, so you may want to check with them again.
The American Telemedicine Organization is a great resource for up to date information regarding telehealth regulations. Medicaid is also very flexible about telehealth services and payment.

How do I set up proper boundaries with my patients?

Providers can schedule appointments for online sessions just as they do in office sessions. Clients have set appointment times and that is when they meet. Just as with face to face clients, they call in the case of an emergency and if they cannot reach you they would follow the procedures that are outlined during their intake session.

Do clients feel as connected in their sessions?

Feedback received from clients indicate that they feel very connected in online sessions. From the Providers’ perspective, they feel that there is a strong connection as there are no distractions and both the client and the therapist are focused on each other and the session.
Providers can utilize worksheets and handouts from the iTherapy.com website and have found that using the additional tools and resources helps the clients to feel connected and allows them to feel that they are getting the same level of treatment as they would in an office setting.

How do you keep HIPPA intact on a home computer?

iTherapy provides the HIPAA compliant notes, video, phone, fax and email platform. By using iTherapy services you know that all of your documents and communication meet HIPAA requirements. Having a computer dedicated to your private practice whether that is online or in office is a good practice.

What are some of the pros and cons of online therapy as compared to in-office therapy?

Finding the right therapist is essential. When looking for a therapist, sometimes it is hard for a client to find one locally who is a good match. When clients can expand the search beyond their commuting zone, they are able to find someone that fits. That’s a huge perk. When researchers look at “what makes therapy work”, the therapeutic relationship is one of the biggest predictors of therapeutic change/benefit.

Convenience for clients is also really important. Some clients that literally could not attend in person therapy (e.g. have a new born child and no childcare support, travel extensively for work, work/commute too many hours to attend in person therapy, etc.) are able to now. It’s really nice to be able to offer therapy to folks who might not have access to it otherwise.

Do you have any resources/knowledge regarding laws/guidelines on practicing internationally? Or any tips on how to market to international clients?

Yes! In the U.S. the general standard is that you need to see clients who reside in the state/s you are licensed in. State laws generally do not apply to what you do out of state (though I’d always check and double check ideas through your state licensing board), so some are able to offer therapy to clients overseas. This depends on the country and their laws about credentialing. For example, a Provider sees clients in Thailand and this is totally within both the guidelines of his/her state and that country. You have to do legwork to find out the rules for each country.

You can also Google “international psychology” or something to that effect, and you’ll find a few sites that allow you to list yourself as a provider in various countries. This is mostly as service for ex-pats looking to find a native English speaker to provide therapy while they are overseas.

You could also join some ex-pat forums online. As you build community there, you can learn more about what services might be needed and if yours would be a good fit. I find that building community (genuinely) is the best “marketing” tool there is. Real relationships, lead to real connections.

What are some challenges with online therapy, in general, that you hope to have resolved?

In physical practice, sometimes you can hear the therapist in the office next to you. And that office buildings have regular “fire alarm drills” interrupting sessions. You get interruptions with online work too. For example, if you have a dog…it could decide to bark while you are working!! Or, the fed ex guy might knock on the door to deliver a package. You can work around these things with sound machines purchased online but it’s still something you have to think through and work around.

Online therapy needs to be just as professional as any other therapy. The setting you provide, particularly in a video environment, and your approach needs to be just as professional as in an office. In that it is “online”, technology can always be an issue. Have the right setup (internet access, camera, etc.) is important and having a backup plan in case of technical difficulties provides another level of comfort for both the therapist and the client. Also, online counseling is not meant for every client and every circumstance. More critical issues and situations may be best dealt with in a face-to-face environment.

 

Clients

How can I contact you?

You can contact iTherapy by calling 800-432-7996, by visiting the Contact Us page or emailing us at info@itherapy.com.

How do I get started?

First, you select your counselor, then select Request an Appointment and an email will be sent to the counselor. The counselor will respond to you within 24 hours.

Is online counseling right for me?

Are you comfortable using phone, video, email and/or chat for an online counseling session? Are you nervous about having a face-to-face counseling session, but feel that you help with depression or anxiety? Is your schedule full and you find it difficult to find the time to travel to traditional counseling appointments? Are you lacking time, but can be on the computer after hours when traditional counseling offices are closed? Are you busy, but can schedule time before work, at lunch, or after hours? Do you desire some connection with a counselor, but not face-to-face counseling sessions at this time?

If you answered yes to at least 3 of these questions you are a great candidate for one of our iTherapy counselors!

Is online counseling service secure?

Technology has become an essential part of all of our lives- it can even be useful in personal growth work. While using the internet as a mode of communication for therapy may seem somewhat unconventional, online video conferencing is an effective, confidential and convenient alternative to face-to-face sessions.

iTherapy uses an SSL certificate that supports both industry-standard 128-bit (used by all banking infrastructures to safeguard sensitive data) and high-grade 256-bit SSL encryption to secure online transactions. iTherapy is building its infrastructure to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The actual encryption strength on a secure connection using a digital certificate is determined by the level of encryption supported by the user’s browser and the server that the web site resides on. For example, the combination of a Firefox® browser and our Web server enables up to 256-bit AES encryption with our SSL certificate.

Encryption strength is measured in key length-number of bits in the key. To decipher an SSL communication, one needs to generate the correct decoding key. Mathematically speaking, 2n possible values exist for an n-bit key. Thus, 40-bit encryption involves 240 possible values. 128- and 256-bit keys involve a staggering 2128 and 2256 possible combinations, respectively, rendering the encrypted data de facto impervious to intrusion. Even with a brute-force attack (the process of systematically trying all possible combinations until the right one is found) cracking a 128- or 256 bit encryption is computationally unfeasible.

Is online counseling treatment effective?

The short answer to this question is yes! In perhaps one of the largest studies of tele-mental health to date, in 2012, Dr. Linda Godleski of the Yale University School of Medicine analyzed the cases of over 90,000 veterans who had participated in the VA’s tele-mental health program. Services delivered were demonstrated to be as effective (and in some cases more effective) than face to face services.

How do I protect my privacy?

At one time or another, you’ve likely used a video conferencing platform such as Skype or Google Hangout. Legitimate tele-health Providers will use a videoconferencing platform that uses encryption to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of your sessions. Services should be compliant with the standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which governs privacy standards for the electronic transmission of Protected Health Information (PHI). iTherapy’s services are fully HIPAA compliant.

Where do I go to participate in my online counseling session?

One of the major benefits of receiving psychotherapy online is the ability to hold your session from anywhere you feel comfortable: home, office, car, or out in the park. This enables folks with busy professional lives, young children at home, limited mobility, and other time/travel limitations to receive effective treatment.

Are there other benefits to online counseling?

The most striking one that comes to my mind is the ease of providing interventions in the environment where a problem occurs. For example, many cognitive behavioral interventions for phobias and anxiety involve directly engaging in therapy exercises in the environment where the anxiety occurs. Online counseling provides the unique opportunity to do this without compromising your confidentiality. For example, if you struggle with claustrophobia, you could have your therapist in a video-session your smart phone while conducting therapy exercises in an elevator.

How much does this service cost?

The cost of services varies depending up the length of time and the counselor chosen. To find about specific services and rates visit the counselor of your choice and contact them directly.


 

Ask A Question

 

Providers

I have both face-to-face and online clients. Can I utilize iTherapy services for both?

Absolutely! iTherapy services are set up to be utilized for all types of clients. Many providers see clients only face-to-face, many online only and many utilize both methods.

Do I have to utilize one iTherapy’s pricing packages?

Not necessarily. The packages have been developed to serve some of providers needs and to make it simple to select. However, you can request a Customized Quote and the package and pricing will be developed to your specific requirements.

Are iTherapy’s services secure?

All of our services are HIPAA compliant and are backed with a BAA (Business Associate Agreement).

How do I find out about becoming a provider?

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a provider or schedule a demonstration, click here: Contact Us.

How are appointments scheduled with me?

Once a potential client has selected you, they can submit a “Request an Appointment” where they fill out name, whether they are a new or existing client, country, state, email, telephone number (optional), preferred contact method, type of appointment requested and any comments. This will then be sent to you via email and you can then contact the client to answer any questions or schedule the appointment.

Can I do an online session from anywhere?

Yes, anywhere with a connection. This enables staying in touch with clients after a move, while travelling or even during a vacation. You will want to take all security precautions (confidentiality, etc.) as you would with any client in any situation.

How can I contact you?

You can contact iTherapy by calling 800-432-7996, by visiting the Contact Us page or emailing us at info@itherapy.com.

Do you feel this style of practice will help you reach harder to access clients?

Yes! Online counseling helps to reach clients that might not otherwise seek counseling.

This platform enables folks who cannot access treatment for a variety of reasons to do so. Clients who have mobility limitations, have a new born child, have no childcare support, who reside in more rural areas with fewer resources, have busy schedules or travel alot, and those with more severe anxiety presentations can be reached with online counseling.

Some clients are able to be more open and honest during phone sessions than they had ever been in a traditional setting. Many individuals who travel for business and have never been able to attend therapy sessions on a regular basis before are able to now. Clients can also attend video sessions from their car or office on their lunch hour when they do not have time for counseling otherwise. In rural areas that experience a lot of snow, the iTherapy platform has made it possible to continuing seeing clients on a regular basis.

How can I deal with safety issues with someone who may be hundreds or thousands of miles away?

Each Mental Healthcare Provider approaches this concern as they see fit. The decision is up to you.

Some Providers’ initial intake paperwork requires the client’s physical address and emergency contact information. Some Providers require clients to give them the physical address from which they are videoing at the beginning of each session. Should there be an emergency, they can call the police/ambulance to get to them. Just as in face to face practice, they review safety procedures and who the client would call in an emergency setting if they cannot reach their provider. Some may worry that a crisis could arise and they would not know where the client is physically located, however this could happen with clients that are seen face to face as well.

So just as in a traditional setting, you can take all of the appropriate measures and respond to each situation as best you can.

Are there some issues or techniques that seem to work better online than in person?

The most striking benefit of online therapy may be the ease of providing interventions in the environment where a problem occurs. Many cognitive behavioral interventions for phobias and anxiety involve directly engaging in therapy exercises in the environment where the anxiety occurs. Online counseling provides the unique opportunity to do this without compromising confidentiality. For example, if a client struggles with claustrophobia, the Provider could schedule a video-session on the client’s smart phone then conduct therapy exercises in an elevator.

Often Providers use the same approaches as an in office setting and find they are just as effective in an online setting. You can utilize worksheets and handouts from the iTherapy.com website and find that using the additional tools and resources helps the clients to feel connected and allows them to feel that they are getting the same level of treatment as they would in an office setting.
.

How effective is online therapy for treating anxiety? Are there advantages?

Yes, there are many advantages and it is quiet effective! Convenience is a big one – you can participate in therapy wherever you are! Additionally, most Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatments for anxiety involve going out to where your anxiety occurs to complete practice exercises. With online therapy you can actually bring your therapist with you via smart phone.

What location code do I use for my billing? Most insurance companies that I have inquired about online services have always said they do not reimburse for anything other than in-office or in-home service location codes.

Some insurance companies may use the in office code with a GT or GQ modifier depending on whether the appointment is video, phone or Asynchronous communication such as email. Most providers can easily see telehealth clients who are in the states that they are licensed in. For other states you can check the guidelines for each state. Many allow you to see clients for a certain number of sessions even if you are not licensed in that particular state. Check with insurance carriers that you are paneled with to ensure that you are authorized to provide services and will be appropriately reimbursed. Most states now require that insurance companies reimburse providers at the same rate for telehealth as they do for in office, so you may want to check with them again.
The American Telemedicine Organization is a great resource for up to date information regarding telehealth regulations. Medicaid is also very flexible about telehealth services and payment.

How do I set up proper boundaries with my patients?

Providers can schedule appointments for online sessions just as they do in office sessions. Clients have set appointment times and that is when they meet. Just as with face to face clients, they call in the case of an emergency and if they cannot reach you they would follow the procedures that are outlined during their intake session.

Do clients feel as connected in their sessions?

Feedback received from clients indicate that they feel very connected in online sessions. From the Providers’ perspective, they feel that there is a strong connection as there are no distractions and both the client and the therapist are focused on each other and the session.
Providers can utilize worksheets and handouts from the iTherapy.com website and have found that using the additional tools and resources helps the clients to feel connected and allows them to feel that they are getting the same level of treatment as they would in an office setting.

How do you keep HIPPA intact on a home computer?

iTherapy provides the HIPAA compliant notes, video, phone, fax and email platform. By using iTherapy services you know that all of your documents and communication meet HIPAA requirements. Having a computer dedicated to your private practice whether that is online or in office is a good practice.

What are some of the pros and cons of online therapy as compared to in-office therapy?

Finding the right therapist is essential. When looking for a therapist, sometimes it is hard for a client to find one locally who is a good match. When clients can expand the search beyond their commuting zone, they are able to find someone that fits. That’s a huge perk. When researchers look at “what makes therapy work”, the therapeutic relationship is one of the biggest predictors of therapeutic change/benefit.

Convenience for clients is also really important. Some clients that literally could not attend in person therapy (e.g. have a new born child and no childcare support, travel extensively for work, work/commute too many hours to attend in person therapy, etc.) are able to now. It’s really nice to be able to offer therapy to folks who might not have access to it otherwise.

Do you have any resources/knowledge regarding laws/guidelines on practicing internationally? Or any tips on how to market to international clients?

Yes! In the U.S. the general standard is that you need to see clients who reside in the state/s you are licensed in. State laws generally do not apply to what you do out of state (though I’d always check and double check ideas through your state licensing board), so some are able to offer therapy to clients overseas. This depends on the country and their laws about credentialing. For example, a Provider sees clients in Thailand and this is totally within both the guidelines of his/her state and that country. You have to do legwork to find out the rules for each country.

You can also Google “international psychology” or something to that effect, and you’ll find a few sites that allow you to list yourself as a provider in various countries. This is mostly as service for ex-pats looking to find a native English speaker to provide therapy while they are overseas.

You could also join some ex-pat forums online. As you build community there, you can learn more about what services might be needed and if yours would be a good fit. I find that building community (genuinely) is the best “marketing” tool there is. Real relationships, lead to real connections.

What are some challenges with online therapy, in general, that you hope to have resolved?

In physical practice, sometimes you can hear the therapist in the office next to you. And that office buildings have regular “fire alarm drills” interrupting sessions. You get interruptions with online work too. For example, if you have a dog…it could decide to bark while you are working!! Or, the fed ex guy might knock on the door to deliver a package. You can work around these things with sound machines purchased online but it’s still something you have to think through and work around.

Online therapy needs to be just as professional as any other therapy. The setting you provide, particularly in a video environment, and your approach needs to be just as professional as in an office. In that it is “online”, technology can always be an issue. Have the right setup (internet access, camera, etc.) is important and having a backup plan in case of technical difficulties provides another level of comfort for both the therapist and the client. Also, online counseling is not meant for every client and every circumstance. More critical issues and situations may be best dealt with in a face-to-face environment.


 

Clients

How can I contact you?

You can contact iTherapy by calling 800-432-7996, by visiting the Contact Us page or emailing us at info@itherapy.com.

How do I get started?

First, you select your counselor, then select Request an Appointment and an email will be sent to the counselor. The counselor will respond to you within 24 hours.

Is online counseling right for me?

Are you comfortable using phone, video, email and/or chat for an online counseling session? Are you nervous about having a face-to-face counseling session, but feel that you help with depression or anxiety? Is your schedule full and you find it difficult to find the time to travel to traditional counseling appointments? Are you lacking time, but can be on the computer after hours when traditional counseling offices are closed? Are you busy, but can schedule time before work, at lunch, or after hours? Do you desire some connection with a counselor, but not face-to-face counseling sessions at this time?

If you answered yes to at least 3 of these questions you are a great candidate for one of our iTherapy counselors!

Is online counseling service secure?

Technology has become an essential part of all of our lives- it can even be useful in personal growth work. While using the internet as a mode of communication for therapy may seem somewhat unconventional, online video conferencing is an effective, confidential and convenient alternative to face-to-face sessions.

iTherapy uses an SSL certificate that supports both industry-standard 128-bit (used by all banking infrastructures to safeguard sensitive data) and high-grade 256-bit SSL encryption to secure online transactions. iTherapy is building its infrastructure to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The actual encryption strength on a secure connection using a digital certificate is determined by the level of encryption supported by the user’s browser and the server that the web site resides on. For example, the combination of a Firefox® browser and our Web server enables up to 256-bit AES encryption with our SSL certificate.

Encryption strength is measured in key length-number of bits in the key. To decipher an SSL communication, one needs to generate the correct decoding key. Mathematically speaking, 2n possible values exist for an n-bit key. Thus, 40-bit encryption involves 240 possible values. 128- and 256-bit keys involve a staggering 2128 and 2256 possible combinations, respectively, rendering the encrypted data de facto impervious to intrusion. Even with a brute-force attack (the process of systematically trying all possible combinations until the right one is found) cracking a 128- or 256 bit encryption is computationally unfeasible.

Is online counseling treatment effective?

The short answer to this question is yes! In perhaps one of the largest studies of tele-mental health to date, in 2012, Dr. Linda Godleski of the Yale University School of Medicine analyzed the cases of over 90,000 veterans who had participated in the VA’s tele-mental health program. Services delivered were demonstrated to be as effective (and in some cases more effective) than face to face services.

How do I protect my privacy?

At one time or another, you’ve likely used a video conferencing platform such as Skype or Google Hangout. Legitimate tele-health Providers will use a videoconferencing platform that uses encryption to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of your sessions. Services should be compliant with the standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which governs privacy standards for the electronic transmission of Protected Health Information (PHI). iTherapy’s services are fully HIPAA compliant.

Where do I go to participate in my online counseling session?

One of the major benefits of receiving psychotherapy online is the ability to hold your session from anywhere you feel comfortable: home, office, car, or out in the park. This enables folks with busy professional lives, young children at home, limited mobility, and other time/travel limitations to receive effective treatment.

Are there other benefits to online counseling?

The most striking one that comes to my mind is the ease of providing interventions in the environment where a problem occurs. For example, many cognitive behavioral interventions for phobias and anxiety involve directly engaging in therapy exercises in the environment where the anxiety occurs. Online counseling provides the unique opportunity to do this without compromising your confidentiality. For example, if you struggle with claustrophobia, you could have your therapist in a video-session your smart phone while conducting therapy exercises in an elevator.

How much does this service cost?

The cost of services varies depending up the length of time and the counselor chosen. To find about specific services and rates visit the counselor of your choice and contact them directly.


 

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