The Essential Guide to What Teletherapy Is and Who Uses It

teletherapist working from home

 

Many clinicians flock to teletherapy for more flexibility in their schedules, more job opportunities and even to reduce the stress of a daily commute.

Teletherapy has grown in popularity over the last decade as a way for therapists of all kinds to offer their services via an online or virtual setting through live interactive video conferencing. This type of online therapy is referred to by different names:

  • Teletherapy
  • Telepractice
  • Telehealth
  • Internet Therapy
  • E-Therapy
  • Electronic Therapy
  • Online Counseling

What is teletherapy?

The short answer: it’s just like any other therapy, only online.

The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) describes teletherapy as a type of delivery where a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) provides therapy  and audiology services to a client using technology to bridge the distance.

Teletherapy is similar to the telehealth or telemedicine models which deliver services from a remote location using telecommunications technologies, but specifically focuses on the therapy practices used in educational settings, such as

  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Counseling Services

Many different disciplines have since started using teletherapy as a model for their practice, refining it as technology improves. It is now being used in private practices, schools, and clinics with all ages and ranges of clients by Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapists (OT), Physical Therapists (PT), and Mental Health Counselors.

For rural schools and districts, who have difficulties hiring and keeping professional therapists, teletherapy is an effective means to provide therapy to their students in a convenient and engaging way, plus it helps therapists avoid long travel times.

How does teletherapy work?

With teletherapy, you and your client log into an online “room” or portal of some kind, much like you would if you were video conferencing or video chatting, to attend the therapy session. You are able to see each other, face-to-face, and communicate live, just as you would in an office or classroom.

With most video conferencing platforms, you are also able to share your screen, so any worksheets, activities, or sites you want to use during your session, you are able to share with your client.

According to ASHA,

“Teletherapy must be of equal quality to the therapy that would be provided in person. Each state has its own specific rules and regulations surrounding teletherapy.”

Teletherapy is HIPAA compliant and legal, with specific variations from state to state.

Who is teletherapy for?

Innovative technology for rural schools

Teletherapy is a great option for schools, especially in rural districts, that may not be able to find a therapist in their area due to long commutes, shortage of therapists, or the need to drive from school to school to cover services. Offering teletherapy services helps your school district meet these needs by bringing the therapist to you remotely. This way, you can hire therapists licensed in your state from all over the country, without having to worry about drive time or traveling from site to site. It can also help if you are limited on space in your buildings, as the therapist will be working from their own home office.

If you are in a virtual school, home-school your students, or even work in a private school setting, teletherapy can be the perfect solution to help you meet your students’ IEP needs, without having to switch your setting or schooling desires. Therapists can be contracted in to work with your students, no matter where you are or what type of school, so you are able to continue learning from where you are, while getting the school-based therapy services your students need.

Remote opportunities for professional therapists

Teletherapy is a great option for therapists that otherwise would not have many opportunities in their area or patients that are not able to make it to a clinic.

Many clinicians flock to teletherapy for more flexibility in their schedules, more job opportunities and even to reduce the stress of a daily commute.

For many, it is about harnessing more time in their day, and for others it is about connecting with and helping people all around the world whom they might not meet otherwise. Whatever the draw to the setting is, there is no denying that teletherapy is growing and many therapists are looking to it as an exciting trajectory for their career.

Many people wishing to start working teletherapy reach out to teletherapy companies, like E-Therapy, that will either employ them or contract with them for clients, while others choose to start their own private practices.

When you are asking yourself, “What it teletherapy?” the main thing to remember is this: It’s just like any other therapy, only online.

You get to reach out to people who otherwise might not get therapy services. You can work with all ages in all settings and you get the added benefits of being in your own location, using fun online activities that are functional, engaging and your clients will love.

With teletherapy, the possibilities are limitless!

Want to get started in Teletherapy?

If you are a therapist ready to get started or find out more about teletherapy, head on over to our “Join the Team” page, where you can sign up as a therapist and we will contact you with a school or need that fits what you are looking for. You’ll also get access to our monthly newsletter with even more exclusive and up-to-date info on being a teletherapist.

If you are a school interested in adding this service into your district or find out more info, reach out to us. We will get back to you in a jiffy!

 

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