Why Should I Transition My Practice to Telemental Health?
Does the thought of communicating with someone through a webcam feel impersonal to you? Do you feel you cannot effectively practice quality mental healthcare through a screen? Have you tabled your practice indefinitely for fear of transferring to telemental health with the recurring thought: “I’ll just pick it back up when this is all over”? Or even worse still: Have you conducted your sessions via Zoom thus far but feel burnt out by the whole thing?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, this message is for you: We don’t know when the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be “over.” We don’t know when it is going to be safe to practice in person again, nor when your patients may feel comfortable transitioning back. But we do know that you have worked too hard and come too far to let your practice take a hit by not being there for your patients when they need you most. And unfortunate as it is, telemental health is currently the most feasible way to be there for your patients as fully as you possibly can under the given circumstances.
Telehealth can be a daunting task. At first glance, it can feel cold and impersonal. You can feel like you have all of a sudden lost your charisma and efficacy to communicate with your patients. In fact, you might think your patients can’t possibly be gaining anything by talking to your pixelated face through a computer screen.
"By showing up, pixelated as you might be, you are saying to your patients, 'I am here for you come hell or high water. Your growth matters to me. Your mental health journey is important. YOU are important.'"
Steps to Transitioning Your Practice to Telemental Health
Most importantly, as you transition your practice to a telemental health platform, remember that you are also experiencing a lot of trauma this year. The pandemic is no easier on you than it is on anyone else, but there is a lot of weight on your shoulders to be a pinnacle of knowledge and a calming presence. Be kind to yourself; take care of yourself; and remember that you are a brilliant therapist.