As the veil of stigma surrounding mental health continues to recede, new ways of providing therapy are emerging from psychologists all over the world. As ever-flowing as the research dictates, psychotherapy in the United States is constantly being revised and adapted to solve specific problems and negative thoughts. Furthermore, there is a consensus amongst the psychiatrist and psychotherapist communities to move away from medicating patients and towards removing the reliance on pharmaceuticals.
This ever-changing field of therapy is also joining with other sectors that were previously considered completely unrelated, in a bid to stay ahead of the curve. One such method that is being employed by therapy practices (including those that deal with conditions that go beyond mental health therapy, such as physiotherapy), is through the use of dedicated call centers to enhance the relationship between therapist and patient.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
One way that mental health therapy is moving away from pharmaceutical-based relief is in cognitive behavior therapy, also known as CBT, and talking therapies. CBT therapy is an approach that has gained traction around the world in treating mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and of a full range of symptomatic behaviors––from mild to severe. The role of the therapist in delivering CBT is to help the patient change their responses to events (or triggers) that will bring out the symptoms of their mental illness. Thus, the patient’s behavior is gradually changed from being reactive to triggers to being more proactive in avoiding their responses.
CBT as a form of psychotherapy also carries several extra benefits in that it can be delivered with or without medication, such as antidepressants, and can be an effective treatment for those disorders that are not usually classed as mental illnesses, such as ADHD and substance abuse.
Telehealth and Teletherapy
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a growing trend of teletherapy in American health services. Since the restrictions were placed on the general population to prevent one on one contact, and therefore the spread of the pandemic, therapists have had to resort to new ways of providing their care.
Telehealth, as a concept, has been around for nearly half a century, but it has really come to the forefront in the past year. Originally intended as an easier way to deliver healthcare to rural residents who live in hard-to-reach places, the idea behind it is simple––healthcare is provided by a telecommunications device. Obviously, not all healthcare can be administered over the telephone or the modern-day video chat applications, but advice and diagnoses can be. As such, therapies that rely on a conversation between a patient and their therapist can find that telehealth is a useful alternative to in-person appointments.
With teletherapy coming from telehealth, it’s easy to see how call centers can provide a solution to the necessary telecommunications. By having a dedicated call center, patients can be contacted much more easily to arrange anything from a video conference, medication review, or an emergency appointment itself. Practices that are utilizing the contact centers may find that their work is being streamlined and that they are still remaining compliant with the Covid-19 restrictions.
What of teletherapy in the long term? Whilst the CDC is recommending the use of telecommunications to administer healthcare as a way to avoid the spread of Covid-19, the consensus amongst many healthcare providers is that they would like telehealth to continue. It is cheaper to maintain on both the patient and the practice, and it helps to move away from the reliance on medications. It’s not hard to imagine, therefore, that teletherapy would also continue in a post-Covid-19 world.