The use of telepsychology as an alternative to in-person psychotherapy has grown exponentially as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This method of patient-therapist contact is coronavirus safe. It is also very flexible in its use. On a mutually agreed upon time, a licensed psychologist and a patient in Indiana can access each other anywhere and anytime as long as they have a secure internet connection and private places. Also, HIPAA compliance with Security and Privacy Rules are offered by specific platforms, including the one I use, Doxy.me.
It is reassuring that research supports the benefits of telepsychology. Calkins (2021) in the Monitor on Psychology reviewed the research that has confirmed the effectiveness of this delivery method. In a recent large meta-analysis comparing clinical interventions delivered by videoconferencing with those offered in-person, similar outcomes were found. This conclusion was in line with prior research. There was one unexpected outcome. Virtual interventions yielded better outcomes than in-person interventions for women. The future will tell whether or not this finding is confirmed by additional studies.
One important question remains. Will the States and insurance companies continue to support telepsychology after the pandemic? Only time will tell. But it is hoped that individual providers, their patients, and professional organizations like the American Psychological Association will advocate fully for it as a valuable contribution to psychological treatment.
Calkins, H. (2020). Online therapy is here to stay. Monitor on Psychology, Jan./Feb., 78-82.