Online Counselling (Telehealth) at Contemporary Psychology

Reasons clients access Zoom with a psychologist:

  • Travelling interstate or overseas
  • Moved further away and have difficulty with travel
  • Aren’t feeling confident and prefer to be at home for the session
  • At home sick and don’t want to spread germs
  • Trial the psychologist to see if it is the best fit
  • Convenience
  • Managing a busy working schedule
Online Therapy FAQ's

Today we live in a busy high-tech world and it is important you can access mental health care at any time. Whether you are travelling, don’t wish to commute or are happy to relax at home, we are here.

Psychologists work with you to understand more about your lifestyle, appetite, sleep, relationships, mood and outlook. We can develop a clearer understanding of your mental health and work with you create a treatment plan, regardless of where you are.

Many things have changed since the outbreak of COVID-19. We have had to change the way we go about many aspects of our day to day life – from the way we greet each other, to our toilet paper shopping habits.
With a need for increased social distancing, people are looking to online solutions to not only work from home but to also maintain important connections with family and friends, visit their GP’s and access support from their psychologist.

Online therapy is not that different to face-to-face therapy and your Psychologist will continue to work with you in much the same way as they would if you were attending a face to face session.

The major difference between online therapy and face-to-face therapy is that you do not attend the appointment at a clinic, but instead access online therapy using an internet-connected device like a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Online therapy typically involves the use of dedicated software or accessing a specific website, that allows for video and audio communication between you and your psychologist. This is similar to connecting with family, friends or business contacts using programs such as FaceTime.

As online therapy is most often delivered via video, you are able to talk with your psychologist in the same way you would in a face to face session. Your psychologist may also have resources to share or activities to complete that is easily done via the computer.

Would it surprise you to know that telepsychology (including online therapy, telephone counselling, email and chat) has been around for more than 20 years, and used in a variety of settings to support many mental health issues including depression, anxiety and eating disorders?

Telepsychology has been effectively utilised by; the armed forces for many years to support the many men and women who are deployed overseas, rural health workers to support individuals living in rural and remote areas who do not have access to mental health services nearby and by Psychologists and medical professionals to support individuals with chronic health conditions that make it harder for them to travel out of the house to see a specialist.

With the rapid increase in the demand for telehealth services and online therapy, there has been a considerable amount of research conducted into the effectiveness of online therapy when compared to more traditional face to face counselling. Research has consistently found that online therapy can be equally as effective as face to face counselling, particularly when focusing on short-term goals and reducing symptom severity. In fact, some studies have shown that online therapy can be more effective than face to face therapy, especially when it involves the use of cognitive – behavioural strategies in certain circumstances.

Online therapy is a good option for many people including those who reside in a rural or remote area, for people who have very busy schedules or high work commitments and for individuals who have difficulty leaving home for any particular reason. It is also a great option in our current climate of self-isolation and social distancing.
Although online therapy is suitable for the majority of people, there are some situations where online therapy would not be recommended. For example, individuals with severe psychological or emotional issues such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression with current suicidal ideation may find that online therapy is not suitable due as they often require a higher level of care. Psychologists offering online services are not always able to respond to crisis situations in the manner needed and this should also be considered when determining if online therapy is suitable for your current circumstances.

Others who may not benefit from accessing online therapy include anyone who is not comfortable with using technology (although our staff is on hand to assist) and anyone who has concerns about being able to find a quiet or private area in their home to allow for the necessary level of privacy and confidentiality.

Online therapy is a good option for many people including those who reside in a rural or remote area, for people who have very busy schedules or high work commitments and for individuals who have difficulty leaving home for any particular reason. It is also a great option in our current climate of self-isolation and social distancing.
Although online therapy is suitable for the majority of people, there are some situations where online therapy would not be recommended. For example, individuals with severe psychological or emotional issues such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression with current suicidal ideation may find that online therapy is not suitable due as they often require a higher level of care. Psychologists offering online services are not always able to respond to crisis situations in the manner needed and this should also be considered when determining if online therapy is suitable for your current circumstances.

Others who may not benefit from accessing online therapy include anyone who is not comfortable with using technology (although our staff is on hand to assist) and anyone who has concerns about being able to find a quiet or private area in their home to allow for the necessary level of privacy and confidentiality.

You will need access to a quiet, private space; a device, i.e. smartphone, laptop, iPad, computer, with a camera, microphone and speakers; and a reliable broadband internet connection. Where possible, we recommend you hard wire your computer to your modem as this improves the quality of the video session. If you are unable to do this then wifi or 4G will be just fine.

  • Find a space where you can talk freely, preferably a room with a door that closes with no other people in the room.
  • Position your computer so that your therapist can see you during the session. We recommend positioning your computer so your head and shoulders are visible. This is a more natural view for conversing.
  • Have a set of headphones handy. Some people feel more comfortable talking over headphones as it improves privacy.
  • Be ready on time for your session. We recommend you are ready for your online session 5-10 minutes ahead of the appointment time.
  • If your therapist has sent you a link to log in to the online session, click on the link and wait for your therapist to join.

The importance of taking care of our mental health is demonstrated by the following Amanda Seyfried quote:

A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else. You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there. Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it.”
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