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What to Expect With Online Therapy:

Welcome to my home teletherapy practice. I would like to share what my home office looks like as I think that this may help my clients feel comfortable. My home office is set up very much like a "real" office. I have my degrees on the wall, books and workbooks on the shelf, office supplies, the doors are closed, and confidentiality is observed in all of the important ways. When in session my doors are always closed and I wear an ear piece to maximize conversational privacy. In addition, since A Better Understanding, Inc. uses the Simplepractice.com platform, all client information and communication can be kept secure and confidential. Please see attached photos of the teletherapy office:

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Clients who are new to online therapy may have questions about how it works and whether or not it DOES work. Please see the information below to better understand the risks and benefits of using teletherapy:

Is Online Therapy As Effective As In-Person Treatment?

You might be wondering if teletherapy is as effective as regular in-person visits to your therapist. The answer is, for most patients, yes. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association states, “Telemedicine in psychiatry is a validated and effective practice of medicine that increases access to care.” Studies have also shown that telepsychiatry can be more beneficial for certain patients, especially those who feel uncomfortable in a clinical or unfamiliar setting.

Teletherapy can help some patients feel more relaxed and willing to share their thoughts and feelings. Being inside the comfort of their own home can make a huge difference for certain individuals’ comfort levels. For some patients, the use of technology may seem like a hurdle. However, as technology improves and people become more familiar and comfortable with video communication, telepsychiatry will become more prevalent and accessible.

Of course, telepsychiatry does have some limitations. Certain types of therapy, such as play therapy for children, are limited by telehealth. For those sessions, in-office visits would provide a better experience.

What are the benefits of having phone or video therapy sessions?

    • Convenience. If you are unable to attend therapy in person on a regular basis, you are able to “meet” with me virtually and maintain continuity in your therapy.

    • Safety. During this time of social distancing and self isolation, you can see your therapist from the safety of your home environment. No going to another location or risking possible exposure to others. 

    • Bad weather will not be an impediment. No need to travel in snow or bad storms to make your appointment.

    • Time saving. Meeting with your therapist from a remote location means that you will not have to spend time traveling to and from the office.

    • More options for scheduling. Subject to my availability, sessions before or after regular office hours are possible.

    • Many insurance companies are reimbursing for teletherapy sessions. Check with yours to see what your policy allows for. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), most are reimbursing telehealth in the same way as in person sessions. Please double check with your insurance company. There is likely information on their website or call.

    • It’s effective and cost saving. Studies demonstrate the efficacy and positive benefits of teletherapy and that it is as effective as in person therapy.

 

Getting Started with Telehealth:

This guide includes basic tips and instructions on how to join a video appointment, as well as some FAQs to make your first video call a success.

To prepare, please review the following information before your first video appointment. You may still have questions, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

 

What is Telehealth?

Through audio and video over the internet, you can meet with your clinician on-the-go from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device (iOS or Android).

Telehealth allows us to connect anywhere with secure and convenient appointments that save you time and hassle. There's no need to deal with traffic when you can schedule and attend your appointments directly from a laptop or mobile device.  

 

What equipment do I need?

To participate in Telehealth appointments from your home, you will need one of the following devices:

  • Desktop computer with a webcam, speakers, a 2.5 GHz processor, and 4 GB of RAM

  • Laptop computer with built-in webcam and speakers, a 2.5 GHz processor, and 4 GB of RAM 

  • Tablet device with built-in webcam and speakers

  • Smartphone with at least iOS 12.4 or Android 7.0
    (Note: To use a smartphone, you must first download Telehealth by SimplePractice - available for iOS or Android in the app store.)

You will also need an internet connection that is at least 0.35 mbps. For optimal results, a reliable, high-speed internet connection with a bandwidth of at least 10-15 mbps will minimize connection issues and provide the best quality.

Note: We recommend using the SimplePractice Internet Connection Test to check your WiFi strength prior to the start of your first appointment. If your connection is anything less than Excellent, you'll see tips that may help to improve the quality of your call.

 

The day of the call

Using a desktop or laptop computer

If you plan to use a desktop or laptop, there is nothing to download prior to your appointment. Here are the steps to join:

  • About 10 minutes before your appointment, you'll receive an email appointment reminder with the link to join your call. Please note that the link to join the Telehealth call will only be in your email reminder and not in your text reminder. If you're set up to receive text reminders, the exact time you receive your text reminder may vary based on your cell phone carrier.

    • Note: If you have already consented to receiving text and/or email reminders, you will continue to receive them for Telehealth appointments as well. If you're a new client, make sure that you've provided your email and or mobile phone number so that I can enable email or text appointment reminders for you.

  • Click the unique link embedded in the email reminder. You may have to copy and paste the link into your web browser if clicking the link does not work. Your video call screen will now open in a new tab.

  • If I have already joined the call, you will see my face on the screen. If I have not, you will see yourself.

  • You will also see the Welcome prompt. Click Test internet connection to test your internet speed.

  • When you are ready, type your name where it says Enter your name to join, and click Join Video Call. This will take you straight into the video call.

 

 

Tip: For information about enabling camera and microphone access, please see: How to enable camera and microphone access for Telehealth.

Using a smartphone or tablet

If you plan to use a mobile device, here are the steps to join:

  • Download Telehealth by SimplePractice (for iOS or Android) in the app store. About 10 minutes before your appointment, you should receive an email appointment reminder. 

  • Open the reminder email on your device and click the unique link. This will open the Telehealth by SimplePractice app.

    • If you don't have the app downloaded, you will be prompted to download it on your tablet or mobile device

  • If I have already joined the call, you will see my face on the screen. If I have not, you will see yourself.

  • When you are ready, click Join Video Call. This will take you straight into the video call.

Note: There may be a slight delay for me to join the appointment if I am finishing with a previous appointment. Please be patient and I will join momentarily.

Tips for success

  • I recommend joining the video appointment a few minutes early to test your settings.

  • If you can connect to the Internet, but are having trouble joining the video you can use the SimplePractice Internet Connection Test. Click Show Details to see the breakdown of your Audio and Video connection scores.

  • To use a smartphone to join a video chat, you must first download the Telehealth by SimplePractice app - available in the app store for iOS or Android.

  • If you need to cancel or have questions about the appointment, please contact me.

  • You can choose the layout option that works best for you. These options are:

    • Switching between Speaker and Grid View

      • The Speaker View gives you a full focus view of the active speaker, and the Grid View gives you an equal view of all participants side-by-side. Click Grid/Speaker View to switch views.

    • Identifying the active speaker

      • You can easily identify which participant is currently speaking by which window is highlighted in yellow in Grid View, or which participant is pinned in Speaker View.

    • Pinning a participant

      • You can pin any participant, regardless of who's currently speaking.

      • To pin a participant, hover over their video stream and click Pin Video.

      • To unpin a participant, click the blue Unpin video icon.

    • Hiding your self view

      • You can hide your self view by clicking Hide self view in the upper right. Other participants can still see you if you hide your self view.

      • To show your self view again, click Show self view.

    • Hide participants in the side panel

      • You can hide other participants to focus on the active speaker by clicking Hide/Show participants in the upper right.

FAQs

What should I do if I didn’t get the reminder with the link?

Contact me if you did not get the link so I can send it to you via email or secure messaging. 

 

What is SimplePractice?

SimplePractice, LLC is my practice management software for scheduling, case management, and Telehealth, and therapy notes. SimplePractice, LLC, uses a HIPAA compliant software so your information will be securely kept.

 

What can I do to do improve the quality of the connection?

If you live in an area with slow internet, this can really affect the speed of your connection.

 

Here are some basic steps that can improve the overall quality:

  • Use wired Ethernet instead of wifi whenever possible. Wifi will work, but you may experience a lag and interference, which can make your video and audio choppy. If you experience a lag or interference while using Wifi, we recommend moving closer to your router. However, wired internet will give you a much smoother, more consistent experience.

  • Test your internet connection speed. Use the SimplePractice Internet Connection Test to make sure your device is set up for successful connection and audio/video quality. 

  • Close other programs. If you have several programs running in the background, closing them will almost certainly improve the quality.  Also, make sure you’re not downloading any large files.

  • Turn off your video stream. When your video is turned on, there's more strain on your internet connection which may impact the audio quality during a Telehealth session. If your audio becomes choppy, your connection may not be strong enough to support a live video stream. Turning off your camera, may help to improve the audio quality of the call. If you are unable to connect, please contact me as soon as possible to see if I can help you troubleshoot.

 

How should I prepare my space for a Telehealth appointment?

  • Identify a suitable room that is quiet, private, and free of distractions.

  • To keep background noise to a minimum, make sure to close any doors, shut windows, turn off the television, and keep loud pets in another room if possible. Consider hanging a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door to avoid interruptions. 

 

Is Telehealth private?

Just like a face-to-face appointment, your Telehealth visit will be private and confidential.

 

Will the appointments be recorded?

None of our appointments will ever be recorded or stored.

 

What if my microphone and webcam aren't working?

When you click on your Telehealth appointment link, make sure to click Allow to enable your webcam and microphone to work with Telehealth. If you don't see this option, click Reload the page.

Begin Working With An California Mental Health Therapist today

Learning to live with ADHD, Autism, Social Anxiety and other anxiety symptoms is much easier said than done. I would be honored to help you in overcoming the symptoms that affect you most. I am happy to offer confidential teletherapy services from her California-based therapy practice working with clients across the state. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Reach out to Jillian Graham, licensed therapist to have a free consultation for mental health therapy.

  2. Have your first appointment with A Better Understanding, Inc.

  3. Start receiving the support you deserve!

Other Services Offered With A Better Understanding, Inc.

I have been working as a licensed therapist for nearly 20 years and specialize in treating Anxiety, Social anxiety, Autism, ADHD and other developmental disabilities. I strive to understand you and your mental health treatment needs and am here to provide support and understanding so that you can start to feel better in life. I am happy to offer a variety of mental health services including therapy for neurodivergent adults or parents to children with ADHD, autism or anxiety. In addition to anxiety treatment, trauma therapy, depression treatment, mood disorders, and bipolar disorder treatment. 

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