If you are a current Mass Bay Counseling client, you can access your
Theranest Client Portal by clicking the following link:
When people think of therapy, they don’t often think of sitting on their computer or relaxing at home. However, by using secure video platforms or phone calls, therapy is more accessible than ever. With the majority of people currently practicing social distancing or working from home, it is a prime opportunity to explore how telehealth can be beneficial to you and your family.
Will insurance cover telehealth?
For most people, yes! Many insurers were already covering telehealth, but as of 3/15/20, Governor Baker, recognizing the vital need and value of telehealth in the midst of the National and State emergencies, announced that all Massachusetts insurers, including GIC, must cover telehealth and at the same rates as they would in person visits (https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-15-2020-telehealth-order/download).
As always, do feel free to call your insurance to check (though this is a very new development that they might not have heard about yet). If you happen to have an out-of-State plan, please know that more States are enacting similar orders, or already have, but you may want to call your plan to double check on coverage.
What are the pros and cons to using telehealth?
Although research has shown that for many mental health treatments, telehealth produces similar or identical outcomes as in-person treatments, the research is still being gathered, and there are some differences to be aware of. Since telehealth generally only shows faces rather than full body, some nuances of communication via body language can be missed. Likewise, if there is a poor video or sound connection, communication can be difficult or less clear. Much like with texting conversations, it’s important to check in and make sure what you are communicating and what you are hearing is accurate and understood as intended. Overall, though, for people who are at least somewhat familiar with using computers or smartphones, telehealth is overall thought to be safe, effective, convenient, and an important tool in maintaining continuity of care.
What do I need to do telehealth?
- A comfortable and private place to meet preferably away from other family members
- Reliable and fast internet
- A tablet, laptop, computer or smartphone that has a camera and microphone
Note: all smart phones and tablets have camera and microphone as well as most laptops
If you have ever used a device for FaceTime or Skype then it is good to go for video therapy!
Won’t it be awkward?
Many people wonder if they will still be able to “connect” with their therapist in the same way as an person session. We find that this is absolutely possible and you will likely be surprised how comfortable it feels to meet online. In our current technological age so many people are comfortable using online platforms for social connection or to work remotely, and using telehealth is an extension of that. You may even find yourself feeling more relaxed meeting online because you get to be in the comfort of your own home.
Are there risks to using telehealth?
Please see our consent form. Risks are minimal and similar to beginning therapy, though we will need to identify appropriate emergency plans and contacts if they were to be needed. In some cases we may deem that telehealth is not appropriate or safe to use and we will discuss alternatives if this is the case.
Anything else I need to know?
You will be asked to complete a telehealth consent form before we begin our first session (via your Theranest client portal). We’d be happy to address any other questions or concerns you might have, and we are looking forward to being able to continue to support you in this way and help you navigate these unprecedented events with resilience and meaning.