Christian Heart Counseling
Telepsychology Informed Consent
This Informed Consent for Telepsychology contains important information focusing on doing psychotherapy using the Internet. Please review this information carefully and let your therapist know if you have any questions.
Benefits and Risks of Telepsychology
Telepsychology refers to providing psychotherapy services remotely using telecommunications technologies, such as video conferencing or telephone. One of the benefits of telepsychology is that we can engage in services outside of my office. Here are a few examples:
- Bad weather or a car problem prevents one of us from making it to my office.
- One of us is too ill to come to the clinic.
- Your schedule does not allow travel time but does allow time for an appointment.
- If you have anxiety about driving, leaving your home, or other factors which make it difficult, or even impossible, to get to my office.
- You do not want to be seen in a mental health clinic waiting room.
Telepsychology, however, requires that both the therapist and the client have the computer skills and resources to make it work. If you have questions about your comfort with your computer and the Internet or whether your computer is current enough to use telepsychology, please let your therapist know. Basically, if you can stream video, such as Netflix or YouTube, on your home computer, it should work. Your therapist can arrange a brief test video connection to verify that it works for you.
There some aspects of telepsychology that are different from in-person appointments that we want to make you aware of:
Confidentiality concerns. Depending upon your living situation, there may be the potential for other people to overhear sessions if you are not in a private place during the session. It is important for you to make sure you find a private place your video appointment, and that you will not be interrupted. You should be in a room that is private, where other people are not present and cannot overhear our conversation. While it would be theoretically possible for me to record your video appointment, we would never do this, and also the service that we use for these appointments, Our system does not permit recording. It is also possible, although not likely, that other people might be able to get access to our private conversation. Our system has security professionals who look out for us. Our system uses an encrypted connection to reduce the risk of others somehow “hacking in” to our discussion.
Technology concerns. There are ways that technology issues might impact telepsychology. The main concern is if one of us has a computer or connection problem during the appointment. If we lose the connection, you can call your therapist on their cell phone or, or they will use the number that you have provided to contact you. If we are unable to re-establish the connection, we will either continue by phone or will end the video appointment. You will not be billed for time when there is a dropped connection.
Safety/Crisis concerns. Usually, our therapists will not engage in telepsychology with people who are in crisis, and who may require a high level of support and help. Before starting video appointments, your therapist will discuss what we will need to do if you develop a crisis, such as calling someone who can be with you for support. If necessary, your therapist may need to call for a “wellness check” by your local police- but this is very rare and done only if it seems that you are a danger to yourself or someone else.
Effectiveness concerns. In other words, are video appointments less helpful than in-person ones? In fact, research on this question consistently finds that most people find it to be as helpful as in-person appointments, and some even find it to be more helpful! Some people do find it to not be helpful. If you find that it is not a good match for you, please let your therapist know. They will let you know if they decide that telepsychology is no longer the most appropriate form of treatment for you. They will discuss options of engaging in in-person counseling or referrals to another professional in your location who can provide appropriate services.
Equipment: You are solely responsible for any cost to you to obtain any necessary equipment, accessories, or software to take part in video appointments.
Documentation: Your therapist will maintain a written record of your video appointments in the same way that I maintain records of in-person appointments.
Minnesota law requires that insurance companies pay the same fee telehealth services (the broad term for medical services provided using technology, such as the Internet) as for in-person services, including psychological services. Some insurance contracts may have unique requirements about how these services must be provided. Your therapist will do their best to be aware of these requirements, but if you have any questions you should contact your insurance company to verify what they require. Most companies, however, simply require that your therapists bill for the video appointment with a different code than for an in-person appointment.
Informed Consent Summary
This agreement is a supplement to our Psychological Services Informed Consent for and does not amend any of the terms of that agreement. Your signature below indicates agreement with its terms and conditions listed above.