For the past year or so, we’ve all been living through a crazy moment in history. Ever since the novel coronavirus swept the world and relegated us all to our homes for the foreseeable future, a lot of adaptations have been necessary. A few of the most obvious adaptations are remote work and remote schooling‚Äîboth of which have come with their fair share of challenges. Students of all ages‚Äîfrom young children to adolescents and even college-age students‚Äîhave been navigating the pitfalls of online education. Adults have had to figure out how to work from home while parenting. It’s been a mess, to say the least.
One group of remote workers, however, has had more issues than others. Therapists (psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and other counselors) have had to provide effective individual therapy and group therapy for patients, all over the web. This causes a number of problems, online security being the most immediately obvious. So, how have online therapists been navigating this sticky web? Read on to learn more about the powerful toolset they put to use.
Teletherapy has proven very effective.
Telehealth services are pretty well known at this point in the pandemic experience. Many of us have had minor medical issues diagnosed over the web, and have renewed prescriptions or updated clinicians about our condition on various mobile apps. Teletherapy is the therapy-related cousin of Telehealth. Online platforms, such as Spruce, have empowered psychiatrists and psychotherapists to communicate with patients in a secure environment.
In this environment, therapy groups have been able to keep treating patients who are in so much need during especially dark times. For example, the Therapy Group of NYC has leveraged Teletherapy abilities to provide a safe place to give cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions and individual therapy sessions in the New York area.
Investing in IP addresses has been key.
Online platforms are helpful, but for a private practice or a therapy group that wants complete control of patient personal information, there’s another option. Some online therapists buy IP addresses, IPv4 addresses to be precise, in order to ensure absolute security. A mobile app or online platform would be managing the IP address space, and the therapy group or psychotherapist using the app would have to trust that everything is being done on the up and up. When you buy IP addresses of your own, there’s no third party. Having your own IPv4 address is the difference between renting clinic space for treating young adults and owning the building. Of course, when you’re looking at a great place to buy IPv4 addresses, you need to make sure the IP addresses are completely scrubbed clean according to the regional internet registry (RIR), just as you would with a physical space you would buy. Buying IPv4 is a new way of ensuring security, but it’s helpful for psychiatrists and psychotherapists who want complete autonomy.
Group therapy is a challenge, but doable.
One area of online therapy that’s been especially problematic is group therapy sessions. Of course, the priority is to keep patients safe from COVID-19, but it’s also crucial to develop empathy and a good therapeutic relationship amongst online group participants. Group sessions are hard to manage because talking over a cloud service naturally creates a barrier of sorts. Nevertheless, therapists in New York, Kansas City, and everywhere else in the United States have been working together to address this common challenge. Group sessions have been different, certainly, but not impossible to manage. These days a virtual group, like a support group, can now be just as supportive as an in-person support group would be.
The entire process of providing a safe environment for personal growth and developing a therapeutic relationship is not easy. Thankfully, counselors of all stripes have been working hard to mitigate the challenges and help us all through some especially trying times.