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Tips for Online Consultations by IOSS

Tips for Online Consultations by IOSS

By Francesca Tripodi and Evie Kirana

Now that many countries are going in and out of lockdown, sexologists need to be able to provide online therapy. IOSS would like to share a few tips for those that are willing to do so…

  1. Some countries require that the therapist is competent in technology-assisted services. Therefore, you should check the specific requirements that apply to your own country.
  2. In case your services are provided to patients that live in another country, you would need to be certified to provide such services in both countries. In addition, in the contract with your client, you may state the applicable jurisdiction in case of dispute.
  3. Check whether your patient’s health insurance covers online consultations.
  4. Find a video conferencing platform to perform your consultations and train yourself on using them as well as their tools.
  5. Find out if you could get listed on an online directory. This could enhance your visibility on the web.
  6. Use platforms that are encrypted and meet standards for privacy protection. Check if Skype and Facetime are compliant to these standards in your country. In the event that there are questions about the use of unsecure platforms, you should review the risks to your and client’s privacy prior to the agreement to use them. Explain how you address issues of privacy and safety to your client.
  7. Similar to in-person therapy, fees for online therapy vary. Online therapy doesn’t have to be cheaper than an in-person therapy, but you can consider lowering costs if you have no studio rental expenses.
  8. When working alliance scores were compared between a sample of online therapy consumers and a representative sample of traditional face-to-face therapy clients, results revealed that a working alliance can be adequately established in therapy delivered online. No significant differences in the level of working alliance were found within the online therapy sample with respect to modality of communication, client presenting problem, or therapist. Comments suggest the importance for participants of the disinhibiting effects of the medium.
  9. Flexibility is a huge appeal of online therapy. Online therapy sessions can be held wherever you have an internet connection. Additionally, online therapy makes it possible for people who are unable to get childcare or those with mobility limitations to have more choice and better access to care.
  10. Consider the criteria of the clients when they select online therapy, including:
    • your license as psychotherapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist and your range of expertise
    • a simple sign-up process
    • positive customer feedback
    • flexible payment options and fees
    • a range of subscription options and services
    • some accepted insurance

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