It goes by many names. Officially, in Arizona, it is psychotherapy under the umbrella of 'telemedicine'. This is a service that an agency where I previously worked really took full advantage of (in a good way). As a counselor, there were just a few times that I was able to use the company's 'telemed' system. Now, through my own online private practice, I get to use my own every day. It's amazing to end up having clients all over the state. This platform allows me to reach a much broader range of clients who invite me into their worlds through a doorway that, had telemedicine never come to be, I would have no way of walking through.
So how did this telemedicine thing happen? Starting with this post, and for the remainder of this week, I will be covering a series titled,The Top 4 Reasons Online Therapy is Needed.
Reason Number 1: Limited Providers
In Arizona, it's simple. There are a lot of isolated cities with little-to-no providers, particularly for specialists who can prescribe psychiatric medication. But for therapists too. Sometimes it is easier to find a provider who specializes in substance abuse counseling versus mental health. The substance abuse counseling degree is simply easier to get. But that doesn't help most patient's who have underlying mental health problems, or substance abuse issues at all. Seeing that 60% of U.S. counties do not have a single practicing psychiatrist, the problem is really quiet systemic. And healthcare providers were desperately trying to find a way to provide specialized healthcare without it being catastrophic financially. I heard in a podcast about two months ago that, at one time, some Alaskan residents had to be flown to their mental healthcare providers by plane at one point, because there was just no other way to reach them!
Join me over the three days for the remainder of this series, The Top 4 Reasons Online Therapy is Needed. Tomorrow we will be talking about how our enhanced use of mobile devices has led to this trend in therapy service provision.