A phone call is often the first way a client makes contact with a therapist. For some clients, this simple – and some might say old-school – way of communicating is also the best way of conducting therapy.
Phone therapy sessions remove significant barriers for clients who live in areas that don’t have a lot of counselors or social workers. Phone therapy also allows clients without computers, or Wi-Fi to have easy access to telehealth.
For some clients, talking over the phone to their therapist is much less stressful than driving to a counseling office, or mastering the technology of telehealth video conferencing. Phone therapy also allows for more privacy for clients who live with several people, or who live in group home settings.
To be clear, phone therapy is not the same as having a friendly chat with a client. Therapists should take phone therapy training to ensure they are upholding all standards of care.
For example, therapists should prepare the client for the session. The client should be able to verify their identity. The therapist should have a plan for dealing with distractions, and technical issues – such as dropped calls, and bad connections. Audio-only communication skills should be utilized to foster effective communication.
The selection of phone service and adherence to privacy laws, such as HIPAA, is critical. RingRx is designed to meet all of the therapists’ phone-related technical needs. This includes separating one’s personal and business line, maintaining a clear call connection, allowing for secure texting and faxing, setting business hours, saving all data including voicemails and texts, using advanced password protection, and the ability to manage the provider’s staff’s phone accounts.
Phone therapy also may help clients stick with therapy. Research has found that many clients are more likely to complete phone sessions compared to in-person meetings. Therapists can use this basis, and often overlooked therapy tool – the phone – to open up options for themselves, and their clients.
By: Raymond Barrett, CEO of Telehealth Certification Institute LLC