AHP Creates New Tip Sheets on Best Practices for Providers Offering Teletherapy

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional therapy sessions are swiftly moving to a teletherapy format. To help behavioral health providers with this massive shift, behavioral health experts at Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. (AHP) developed a three-part tip sheet series of best practices, skills and strategies for providing virtual behavioral health services. AHP created the tip sheets for the Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center, operated by the Danya Institute and funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). They are free to providers and available for download.

The tip sheets are:

Teletherapy brings the principles of therapeutic practice to a virtual format — via videoconference (Zoom or Skype, for example), by phone or by other online or electronic means, such as a patient portal, email or text-based messaging. It is not a subpar substitute for in-person sessions while we wait out physical distancing and state shutdowns; it is a viable and effective alternative to traditional in-person practice. By allowing clients to receive services at home, teletherapy reduces many barriers—in addition to the pandemic—that keep people from accessing behavioral health care.

“Teletherapy eliminates so many barriers that can prevent clients from engaging in traditional care,” said Kristen King, AHP’s Virtual Solutions manager and project lead for the tip sheets. “It’s a critical tool in any clinician’s toolbox. I have delivered nonclinical services and received both clinical and nonclinical services via teletherapy, and although it may take a little getting used to if it’s new to you or your client, it can be just as effective as in-person visits, and in some cases even more so.”

These tip sheets will help providers ensure high-quality services and give them a sense of confidence as they migrate to a new form of therapeutic services.

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