What is teletherapy?
Teletherapy has many names: telehealth, teletherapy, e-therapy, cybertherapy, and more. Whichever name is used, teletherapy is mental health care that is provided electronically. Electronic tools used for teletherapy may include apps, chats, email, texting, telephone calls, and video conferencing. At CAPS, we use both video conferencing and telephone calls.
What are the benefits of teletherapy?
Fortunately, teletherapy allows CAPS to continue to provide psychotherapy while practicing social distancing. Before COVID, in Fall 2019, CAPS began the process of developing teletherapy services for students. Why? Because teletherapy offers many benefits that we believe students will appreciate. Well over 1000 teletherapy studies have been conducted and the consensus is that its effectiveness is equivalent to face-to-face therapy. Video conferencing removes many of the obstacles students face when considering counseling. Some students avoid therapy due to stigma and may feel teletherapy is more private and emotionally safer than face-to-face therapy. Teletherapy can eliminate drive time for working students, students who live far from campus, students with family responsibilities, and for anyone who wishes to avoid additional driving or public transportation. Students with a physical disability might find it much easier to use equipment than navigate the campus for therapy. Most students have access to the equipment needed for teletherapy: a smart phone, tablet, or laptop.
What are the risks of teletherapy?
There are risks in transmitting information over technology that include, but are not limited to, breaches of confidentiality, theft of personal information, and disruption of service due to technical difficulties. Unauthorized persons could interrupt the transmission of personal information or access electronic storage of personal information. Additionally, since the therapist cannot see the student’s entire body, this non-verbal information will be missing. Some students may lack the privacy to engage in teletherapy (Zoom’s chat feature can be used in some of these cases).
What can students expect when they ask for therapy at CAPS?
When students call to make an appointment, they will be scheduled for a brief assessment and students will be asked to complete and sign documents via a secure electronic system before their first meeting (just like people do at a doctor’s office). A counselor will call the student at the appointed time to gather information about what brings the student to CAPS. This brief assessment sessions will be approximately 20-25 minutes. The counselor will assess for risk along with other factors and, together with the student, identify the next best steps. There is a wide range of next best steps which may include anything from: individual therapy or group therapy; referrals to or coordination with community or campus resources; coordination with our domestic violence and sexual assault survivor advocate; documentation of diagnosis; and assistance with hospitalization or residential care.
Individual and couples therapy sessions are approximately 45 minutes. Your counselor will collaboratively develop a goal with you and discuss how they will help you meet your goals.
Where do teletherapy sessions take place?
Students receiving teletherapy from CAPS must be in California (laws regulating the license of the counselor determines where a counselor can offer services and where the client is located; while some states have reciprocity with other states, California does not). Students should find a private location for their session.
How do I make an appointment?
- Please call (323) 343-3300. Follow the prompts to speak to a CAPS reception staff. If no one answers, leave a message with a call-back number.
- Messages are regularly checked during service hours and calls are returned.
- If needed, you will be connected with a counselor or psychiatrist.