At the time this post is being written, we’re living in the unprecedented circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, long before coronavirus, counselors began offering online counseling in Texas to their clients. Online counseling has increased access to therapy. It helps counselors deliver mental health services to those who might not otherwise be able to get it. Telehealth opens the door to care for those living in rural cities like El Paso, Midland and Fredericksburg. It also eliminates the commute time to and from appointments in larger cities like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
While remote counseling may be new to many counselors and clients who are turning to online platforms as a result of the coronavirus, Anne Russey Counseling has been providing online therapy in Texas since 2018. Let’s talk about a few things to keep in mind that can help you get the most out of your online counseling experience.
How do I find an online counselor in Texas?
Due to the ethics and laws pertaining to licensure for therapists, it’s important that your counselor is licensed in the state in which you are currently located. Laws and ethics forbid counselors from practicing across state lines unless they’re licensed in that specific state too. For our purposes, we’re going to talk about finding an online therapist in the state of Texas.
If you’re planning to use your health insurance benefits for mental health, you can contact your insurance company and ask for referrals of counselors who are licensed to provide counseling in your state under your specific insurance plan. Many insurance companies have online searchable directories which may be helpful in your search too.
Another way to find an online therapist in Texas, is to search a provider directory. A few of my favorites include TherapyDen, the Postpartum Support International provider directory and Mental Health Match. If you’re experiencing financial hardship and cost is a concern, Open Path Collective is another directory which lists online therapists who offer their sessions at reduced rates.
Finally, a Google search might prove useful. You can search “online counseling in Texas” or “Online therapy in [your city].” Another option is to search more specifically for what you’re looking for like “postpartum depression treatment in Katy, TX” or “LGBT Counseling in Katy, TX” and see who comes up. If you find a therapist who you’d like to work with, you can check out their website, or reach out to them to ask if they offer online therapy. Most counselors in Texas are providing online counseling right now due to social distancing measures that are in effect.
Where can I have my virtual therapy session?
Start by finding a private, quiet-ish spot for your online counseling session. This might be a bit of a challenge, but acoustics do matter. To get the most out of your online counseling session it is important that you and your online therapist can hear each other clearly. You’ll want to find a quiet space to meet if possible. If you anticipate background noise, like small children, or pets, headphones with a microphone can be helpful in reducing background noise. The headphones that come with many smartphones seem to work fine.
Finding a quiet, private space to have your teletherapy session might mean you need to get creative. Especially if privacy is limited as a result of being quarantined with your entire family.
Potential locations for your online counseling session
- A home office
- A closet
- Your garage
- A parked car
- Your bedroom
- A bathroom
- Outside in your yard
- While taking a walk
How do I deal with technology problems in my online counseling sessions?
Remember technology isn’t’ perfect for telehealth counseling sessions. Try to keep in mind that technology is wonderful when it works, but can be frustrating when it fails. Especially right now, with the influx of people throughout the world trying to do everything online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, some of the telehealth platforms used by counselors are experiencing increased connection disruptions and glitches. One of the risks with telehealth is that you might encounter a problem related to technology.
A good online counselor will do their best to trouble shoot any glitches that arise. Keep in mind the technology problems may be on your end or theirs. You and your online therapist are responsible for doing what you can to manage and address technological glitches that might arise.
Common tech problems and solutions for online counseling
Problem: The video or sound in my telehealth counseling session seems be slower than real time or lagging.
Solution: Check your connection speeds and make sure everything is operating correctly
Problem: I am hearing an echo on my end of a telehealth counseling session. Or my online therapist is hearing an echo on their end of my online counseling session.
Solution: Use headphones or turn try to turn down speaker volumes on both of your ends to see if that helps
Problem: My video or audio quality is terrible for my teletherapy session. I can’t hear or see my therapist, or they can’t hear or see me.
Solution: Try to leave the meeting and rejoin if that’s an option. If that fails, consider moving to a phone call instead. You can also try muting the audio and keeping the video running to see if it begins working better, while moving the audio to a phone call.
How else can I make the most of my online therapy?
Just like with in office counseling, communication is one of the keys to making the most of online therapy. Let your online therapist know what’s working for you and what’s not. Abide by cancellation and no show policies for online sessions, just as you would for in office appointments. If you don’t feel like you’re benefitting from telehealth, let your counselor know. There may be adjustments your counselor can make or feedback they can offer to help you. Open dialogue and communication is going to strengthen the quality of the relationship with your counselor. Ultimately the relationship you develop with your online therapist, and the trust you have in them to help you is going to drive you towards the results you want.
Are you looking for online counseling in Texas?
Anne Russey Counseling offers postpartum depression treatment, postpartum anxiety treatment, LGBTQ+ affirming counseling, anxiety treatment and counseling for moms. In office sessions take place in Katy, TX just west of Houston. Anne offers online therapy throughout the state of Texas using a secure telehealth platform.
The free content provided in this post is for information only and is not a substitute for professional counseling or medical treatment. If you are in need of professional help, please seek it.