Therapy During The Coronavirus Pandemic: ‘This Is New For All Of Us’

Some insurance companies bill the same amount for a telehealth session as an in-office session, but nationally that varies depending on the insurance company, provider and type of session. A telehealth session must have a video component, for example, and a phone call is billed differently.

Virtual sessions allow provider and client to continue their sessions without an interruption and avoid potential COVID-19 exposure. Some clients like being able to speak in their own home. But for others, video takes away the intimate setting of a small office that's considered a safe space.

For that reason, Amos was still seeing a few patients in his office before Inslee's order but planned to move to telehealth once the directive was issued.

"To give a blanket directive, while useful for containing something that is deadly, radically misunderstands that home is not a safe place for all of us," Amos said.

Some clients may be more inclined to share more during a video session because they feel there's distance between the client and therapist, which feels safer. But therapists often rely on body language, which is harder to ascertain in a video chat.

For couples, the dynamic changes when they're on one side of the screen and the therapist is on the other. Ramesh likes to ask couples to turn toward each other and speak and track their body language

"There is a lot going on in couple's therapy that could be lost," Ramesh said.

"It's an interesting time, because we're so distanced from so many people but so close to the person we have chosen to partner with. It will highlight the patterns that are entrenched more starkly than ever."

As those patterns are highlighted, the therapists are aware the outbreak will be brought up in sessions even after people are allowed to return to work and businesses reopen.

"(Talks about the pandemic) will take up the majority of our time, if not all," Brodsky said. "There are so many facets that this has affected me and my life. It will come up in different conversations, but will all relate to coronavirus." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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