in New York* & Georgia*
*New York - We are fully licensed in the State of New York.
*Georgia - We are fully licensed in the State of Georgia.
*Clients must be in NY or GA at the time of service.
We live in a digital world. Teletherapy (a.k.a., online therapy, telehealth, telemental health, telepsychology, etc.) has been on the rise for many years. Research showed that internet-based interventions were equally effective when compared to more traditional face to face interventions even before COVID-19. Teletherapy offers many benefits for clients, therapists, and the greater community in general.
Yes, as with all things, teletherapy is not perfect. There may be rare times when audio, video, and/or internet connection & WiFi difficulties occur. Technology, you know. However, there is always a contingency plan in place to mitigate these complications if and when they arise. This contingency plan will be communicated with you during the phone consultation. Please feel free to ask in order to be sure about the plan.
We have a Business Associate Agreement with our preferred teletherapy platform(s) which ensures that the delivery of our teletherapy services are HIPAA compliant/secure.
We would absolutely prefer to see each other in the office. But, COVID-19. Teletherapy keeps us all more safe AND connected at the same time. COVID-19 changed our world, and it changed how we provide therapy. Read more about our COVID-19 Statement and Action Plan here.
Consider some of our feedback for how to improve your teletherapy experience. This is not an exhaustive list, but here goes:
1) Be sober. Just like you would need sobriety to get the most from your therapy session in the office, you must abstain from alcohol or any other substance use (including tobacco and vaping) during online therapy sessions even if those sessions occur online while you're at home.
2) Have good lighting. Consider using a ring lamp, a regular lamp, or some kind of lighting source that may be positioned in front of you and your screen so that the light is facing you and it brightens your face. Whenever the light source is behind you, then it brightens the back of your head. You don't have to set things up like the photo below, and we still recommend you consider how lighting may impact your session. This is also important if you may sit for your session near a window. Sunlight, present or not, may make it more difficult to see you.
3) Privacy matters. Find a private space for each and every one of your online therapy sessions. Use headphones or earbuds. Schedule your appointments during times when you can be alone in your space if you live with your spouse, family, or have room mates. Do not record your sessions for audio or video. There is a reasonable expectation including federal and state laws which mandate that therapists maintain and protect your privacy, confidentiality, and protected health information. We expect your cooperation to discuss any privacy concerns you may have with us. Verve Psychotherapy LCSW, PLLC reserves all rights.
4) Optimize your time. Use the bathroom before the session begins. Clear your screen of dormant browsers and windows that you're not using during the session to increase your bandwidth and minimize potential audio, video, or Wifi & internet connection difficulties. Schedule your therapy sessions mindfully so that you do not have to rush the start or rush to get off from teletherapy to rush into a work meeting.
5) Be comfortable. Dress up in full (no Zoom suits!). Stretch before session. Go ahead and fidget (stress ball, chakra stone, silly putty, etc.). Adjust your room temperature so that you're not too hot or too cold. Keep a beverage nearby like tea, coffee, water, seltzer, etc. so that you can clear your throat if you become parched. Park your car if you are driving at the time of your session. Do not teletherapy and drive!
what to expect:
FIRST: Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation. This is the first opportunity for you and the therapist to ask each other questions. We discuss reasons why you're getting started in therapy, your needs and your therapeutic goals, and schedule availability. Mostly, we want to figure out if you and the therapist could be a good fit to work together. If so, then we schedule an intake appointment and you receive a Welcome Email to the Client Portal, where you can complete the required consent forms and book future appointments online. Not everyone is a good fit for online therapy, and that's OK - this one reason why it can be important to have a phone consultation first. If we determine that you're not a good fit for online therapy, then we will provide you with referrals for treatment options that are more appropriate for your current treatment needs.
SECOND: The Initial Intake Appointment. This is the next best opportunity for you to share as much about you and your life story as you can in order to help the therapist better understand you and what you need moving forward. Assessment & Evaluation of your mental health will guide discussion that is also focused on recent and remote history of many parts of you and your life like family, education, employment, self-care, and social relationships. We discuss a lot in this first appointment while we also make sure that the pace of our process helps you feel seen, heard, and understood. Finally, we identify specific therapeutic goals, discuss your treatment options, and create your personalized plan for therapy.
THIRD: First Follow Up Appointment. Assessment & Evaluation, Treatment Planning, and Discharge Planning will continue to show up as frequent topics of discussion throughout the course of treatment - they're not just discussed once in the first session and then never again mentioned. Now that you have had a chance to create a personalized plan for your therapy, we start working it into action. Mostly, we keep building rapport because the therapeutic relationship drives the work.
GOING FORWARD: Follow Up Appointments. Therapeutic process moves at your pace. Safely guiding clients through their own personalized treatment plan tops the agenda for each and every therapy session. Feedback Loops will help us monitor and modify how we work with each other in order to ensure that you get the return on your investment in therapy that you need because that is what matters to us most. Eventually, therapy will end and you will continue to build a life worth living.