Sunday, October 25, 2009

Skype Therapy

So what do you think about the idea of videochatting with your shrink on the computer? Patrick Barta is a psychiatrist in Maryland who has started having some of his sessions (5 percent or so) on Skype. He's blogging about his experiences and talking about the good and the bad aspects. Do visit his blog: Adventures in Telepsychiatry and let him know what you think about Skype-Therapy!


talesofacrazypsychmajor said...

There was some discussion about me and my former therapist doing skype therapy after I moved and then had a bit of a freak out while in between therapists. But apparently insurances won't cover that. So no insurance meant no skype therapy. otherwise though I think it would have been neat. I think it'd be cool to have therapy while sitting comfortably in my own home but without the awkwardness that would come from having the therapist in my home. I have an imagine in my head of being able to hug my cat while having video chat therapy.

Anonymous said...

I email my therapist. I have considered creating audio or even video recordings to help when I am really frustrated.

But then, would I ever want a video or audio recording of me as 'evidence'?

Email from an email account is one thing, but full videos sent? How could my current condition come back and haunt me?

I highly doubt it would, however, with electronic rights being challenged, a video would pass through at least though 1 ISP and 1 email host.

As an extreme, but were SSA to trigger a review, an insurance company attempt to deny me, a discharge of student loans, an attempt for a job, or something I can't even think about, how would a video to my therapist effect me?

Skype can be recorded too. =)

Patrick Barta said...

With regard to reimbursement for skype therapy: several states now have laws requiring insurers to reimburse for telemedicine, Maryland doesn't, as yet, but I wonder what will happen after the new health legislation gets enacted and people have time to think about some ideas that will lower costs and increase competition--skype therapy and changes in state telemedicine laws could do both.

With regard to recordings: In my understanding, Maryland state law prohibits making recordings without mutual consent (remember the ACORN flap). If you're worried about recordings, clearly you or your therapist could do so illegally now. Does skype really change anything? Regarding the issue of whether skype is private--you may want to look at Is Skype HIPAA-compliant?. I would argue that skype is about 100 times more secure than email. Email is usually not encrypted and readable by pretty much anyone who has access to any computer along the way that emails are relayed through (typically ten or more.) Skype is a point to point encrypted connection. There's no relay involved, and your ISP could conceivably see that some traffic is passing from one place to another, but can't read it without the encryption key. (Skype uses AES, which is what your banks use, for example.)

itsjustme said...

Wow, Anonymous. Just yesterday, I was thinking that I really wish that I could have my sessions via email. It’s so much easier for me to express myself in writing. Some important issue will come up that I know that I should talk about and I’ll think about during the week and what I should say. I go to my appointment with every intention of discussing it but as soon as I sit down and look at her, I clam up. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable talking to her and I should find a new therapist. I’m pretty sure that would happen to me with anybody but my friends. They’re great but there are just some things that I’d rather not discuss with them. I really wish that I could open up to her and am not sure why I can’t. I’m sure she’s heard much worse than anything I have to say and I know that she really wants to help me. I can also tell that she gets frustrated with me when I get quiet and I feel really bad about this but I just don’t know how to get the words out. I get flustered and worry that I’m not going to word it right or leave something important out. It’s also sometimes embarrassing to admit to doing something dumb or feeling a certain way. It would be so much easier to do without somebody staring at me. I really wish that I could just email her what’s on my mind since I’m such a big chicken!

Rach said...

I love this idea.
In fact, I'm going to write a paper about this.

I'd write more... but I just don't have time since I have to write a paper about this.

Ade said...

It seems that Skype is starting to get the approval of the therapy community at last, I have provided a Skype therapy service for years and have had quite a few emails in the past from angry therapists denouncing the use of Skype.

Now you see other therapists trying it out and from what I have seen the competition is growing fast.
Skype is safer than your phone as long as your computer has up to date anti virus and a firewall
The challenge for many therapists is entering into the world of web sites and seo, if you pay another to do it for you it can be very expensive, with some work you can do it your self at a fraction of the cost and even have some fun on the way.

A word of warning, on-line therapy is not the same as face to face and there are a number of important considerations a therapist needs to understand, client safety needs care and working with high risk clients is not recommended with out some local resource's to hand.

I have even done some experimental work with Hypnotherapy on-line, that was problematic at best but possible.

Skype therapy is not new, its been around for ages but the unfounded fears from people who do not understand its benefits or disadvantages have given people confusing information.

Now its has been seen as just another option to complement a growing need for low cost accessible therapy