Have you been considering getting counseling but have been uncertain about how comfortable you would be with online counseling? (It is sometimes called “telehealth” or “teletherapy.”) Let me tell you about how online counseling works at Bradenton Counseling Center and how quickly our therapists, staff, and clients were able to adjust to our new routine with online counseling this past March.
In March 2020, the therapists and staff of Bradenton Counseling Center recognized that the increasing risks of Covid-19 made it too risky for us to continue with in-person counseling, and we quickly shifted to seeing our clients online or by telephone. We were prevented from providing online or telephone services prior to March because most insurance policies would not cover those services. Due to the pandemic, most insurance companies are now covering online services, and we hope they will continue to do so once the pandemic is over! Therapists, staff, and clients have been very happy with our transition to online or telephone counseling, and many prefer it to in-person counseling.
If you are interested in starting counseling with us, these are the steps to do so:
- Contact Sylena, our office manager, by sending a message through the confidential message system within our website or by calling her at 941-792-0802 during office hours, Monday through Thursday, 9:00 – 5:00 or Friday, 9:00 – 3:00. If you send her a message, Sylena will call you to make arrangements for your counseling. She will need to know whether or not you will be using insurance and what general issues you would like to address in counseling, which will help her determine which therapist will be the best fit for you. She will ask for a credit card to keep on file to cover any charges, such as a copayment, that are your responsibility.
- Sylena will email or snail mail paperwork for you to complete prior to your first counseling session. She will also need a copy of your insurance card (if you are using insurance) and your driver’s license or other ID.
- Once we receive your completed paperwork, Sylena will schedule your appointment. You will receive an automated telephone reminder of your appointment the day prior to your appointment.
- Bradenton Counseling Center uses doxy.me, a video conferencing service that meets HIPAA guidelines for online counseling. And, it is EASY to use! Sylena will give you the initial address that you can enter on your computer when it is time for your appointment. Then you will see a place to type your name, which will notify your therapist that you are online and ready for your counseling session. When your therapist is finished with her previous client, she will join you online to begin your session. You may want to go onto doxy.me prior to your first appointment to read their recommendations for you to have the best video experience.
- Online counseling is a little different from in-person counseling since your therapist will ask you to show them a copy of your ID on the screen in your first session, to verify your identity. And, she will need to verify your location. Your therapist needs to know where your are, in case of an emergency, and because our professional licenses require that we only see clients within the state where we are licensed.
That’s it! As with all counseling, your first session is a time for you and your therapist to get to know each other and for you to clarify with your therapist the things you would like to work on in your sessions. Bradenton Counseling Center has had an increased number of calls for counseling since the pandemic has started. Many clients are experiencing anxiety, depression, and marital problems due to the feelings of isolation, and the medical and economic concerns that the pandemic has created. But, some clients have found that this period of remaining home has given them the opportunity to seek the counseling they have been considering or a long time. Contact BCC to get started yourself. Then, find a quiet, confidential place in your home or office where you can go online or on your telephone when it is time to begin your counseling session. We look forward to working with you!