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Distance Counseling (also referred to as Telepsych) occurs through video conferencing technology or by phone. Research studies have shown that Distance Counseling is effective, convenient, and affordable. Distance Counseling is helpful if you would like to see a mental health counselor that is not located in your geographic area, or if you obstacles to seeing your clinician in an office setting
1. RISKS AND BENEFITSLike all forms of counseling, Distance Counseling possesses both benefits and some risks. Risks may include—but are not limited to—experiencing feelings such as stress, sadness, guilt, and frustration. In addition, clients may not agree with a mental health counselor’s assessment, diagnosis, case formulation, or treatment.
Benefits of Distance Counseling may be comparable to those in traditional face-to-face counseling relationships —the building of a counselor-client therapeutic alliance designed to assist a client in his/her personal growth and life issues.
However, with the use of telephone or video chat, a mental health counselor may be limited in that he/she is unable to take into account the visual or nonverbal cues of a client. Video conferencing is the preferred method of Distance Counseling, but it too might have some limitations associated with the clinician and client not being able to as effectively communicate feelings and emotions. You should weigh the benefits against the limitations of services before consenting to the distance counseling process.
2. CONFIDENTIALITY AND OBLIGATION TO DISCLOSELimits of confidentiality differ from state to state; however, the mental health counselors will abide by the laws of their practicing states in regards to reporting any necessary information. This may include the circumstance of a client, deemed to be a serious threat to him/herself or others, being reported to legal authorities or local social services. It is also law in many states that any disclosure of homicidal threats, child abuse, abuse of a handicapped person, or abuse of an elderly person must be reported immediately to appropriate authorities.
3. PERSONAL MENTAL HEALTH DISCLOSUREAnyone considering Distance Counseling with FCA must meet/agree to the following conditions:
NOTE: If you are suicidal, this is not the proper service for you. Seek immediate help by calling 911 and work witha mental health professional in your geographic area.
4. PAYMENT AND APPOINTMENT POLICYPayment for counseling sessions is expected at the time services are rendered. Additional counseling sessions appointments cannot be made and held until all outstanding prior balances are paid in full.
Additionally, FCA requires a 24 hour notice of cancellation in order for you to not incur a charge for the booked session. Should you miss your scheduled session, without prior cancellation, your counselor reserves the right to charge you a late cancellation fee of $70. It is your responsibility to notify your counselor of any cancellation or change in appointment date prior to the 24 hour cancellation policy.
5. LIABILITY AND WARRANTIESFCA may use Doxy.me or Google Meet for distance counseling sessions. Clients understand that although highly unlikely, there are some risks involved in using online communication technologies. You agree to enter the counseling session with one of our clinicians at your own risk and under the terms and legal laws or rules governing distance counseling. The counselor with whom you work will meet professional licensing standards for your state, but may not actually reside in your home state.
6. ENHANCING YOUR DISTANCE COUNSELING EXPERIENCEWith a little bit of preparation you will be ready to have a fantastic distance counseling experience. Here are a few factors that impact sound and video quality: