Telehealth Services Arizona

Arizona Telehealth Counseling

Looking for telehealth counseling?

  • Are you a mom or caretaker and find it difficult to coordinate getting out of the house and traveling to the office for counseling? 
  • Is it difficult to take time away from work or get off early?
  • Do you struggle with reliable transportation?
  • Do you live in a remote area of Arizona that makes in-person counseling a challenge?
  •  Do you prefer the convenience of telehealth counseling? 
  • Do you have a medical or psychological condition condition that makes it impossible to leave the house?
  • Is your teen’s schedule complicated and difficult to make a counselor’s regular hours?
  • Are you looking for bilingual counseling and you’re finding limited options in your area?

“Telehealth is a growing, effective way to provide mental health care when patients and providers are in different physical locations. It supports long-distance clinical health care using two-way telecommunications technologies like computers, tablets, or cell phones. This can improve access to mental health care and can give patients and providers more flexibility” (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

At Joshua Tree Counseling, based in Tucson, Arizona, we value face to face counseling and we understand that there are circumstances that make this difficult or not preferable. If telehealth counseling fits your needs best, we have counselors who can help. 

Advantages & Drawbacks

What are the advantages of telehealth counseling?

There are many advantages with telehealth counseling. While not for everyone, telehealth counseling is invaluable to many. It became more readily available during the pandemic and many counselors have opted to continue to offer this options to clients. Some counselors now practice entirely via telehealth while many others opt for a mix between in person and telehealth appointments. 

With telehealth counseling, appointments happen wherever you are whether that’s at home, at your office, in your car, or another private space. This eliminates the need for travel to and from appointments. For teens, it can be tough to find a counselor with a schedule the fits your teen’s needs and the needs of the parent or caregiver who would otherwise have to drive the teen to the appointment. Whether your teen needs a fully telehealth option or the flexibility of telehealth when a scheduling conflict would otherwise mean an in person appointment would need to be rescheduled. Learn more about teen counseling.

Because you can attend appointments from the space of your choosing, you can control the comfort of your environment. Whether that means you have your pet by your side, a mug of your favorite tea, or you’re wearing slippers and a cozy blanket, you can create the optimal environment for your appointment. 

Counseling options can be limited in rural areas meaning traveling to and from counseling appointments would require a few hours drive to get there. Telehealth counseling offers high quality counseling may not otherwise be reasonably accessible to you. Even if you do not live in a remote location, the options available within a reasonable driving distance may be limited. In Arizona, as long as your are physically located in the state, you can choose to see any Arizona-licensed counselor. This expands your search options for a counselor beyond the town or city you live in. Read about how to choose a counselor.

For clients with a debilitating medical or mental health diagnosis or disability,  telehealth counseling offers you the option of mental health counseling when in person appointments are not possible. Telehealth counseling expands access for other challenges, like transportation issues or a preference or need for bilingual counseling. 

Health Safety
The pandemic of COVID-19 certainly changed the perception of safety, health and wellbeing. For those who still choose to stay safe by staying home or to limit exposure by avoiding prolonged indoor contact with others, telehealth counseling means you can still receive counseling but not compromise your health. 

Some clients simply prefer virtual counseling. Teens may like this better because they are so comfortable with technology. Whatever the reason, if you just know you’d rather do telehealth counseling, lean into this. Most counselors will tell you telehealth counseling is better than no counseling at all. You know you best! Choose what works for you. 

What are drawbacks of telehealth counseling?

There are also drawbacks to telehealth counseling. It may not be preferable or possible to engage in counseling via telehealth. Thinking through these risks and drawbacks will help you become more fully informed about your preferred method of treatment. While the choice is often yours, there are times it may be contraindicated, or a counselor may decline to provide telehealth services.

Mental health counselors should always use a HIPAA compliant virtual platform (such as Simple Practice or Therapy Notes) as this minimizes your risk and exposure, however because technology is the medium for counseling, your privacy can never be 100% guaranteed. Not all clients have a space they consider to be fully private which may cause you to be less truthful or avoid talking about certain things or people because they might be listening. 

Technology Failure
As much as counselors work to create a seamless telehealth counseling experience, they can’t control all aspects of technology, such as internet outages, connection issues, or a low battery on a phone or computer. When technology fails in telehealth counseling it can be disruption and frustrating. 

Therapeutic Relationship
“While no research has shown telehealth to be
less effective than traditional modalities for specific diagnoses, there are clinical considerations that should be part of the risk
assessment process” (Pacific Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center). The therapeutic relationship is by far the best indicator of successful counseling outcomes. Some clients find it difficult to build rapport with a cousnelor on a screen versus face to face. When clients become emotionally dysregulated during session, it can be more difficult to help them regulate screen to screen as opposed to face to face. Attachments build differently in relationships involving  physical proximity compared to virtual contact. Telehealth counseling may worsen symptoms for clients with profound attachment wounds and dissociative disorders. There is something grounding about being in the same physical space when you’re working through trauma, especially of a relational nature. 

Physical Safety
Clients prone to suicidal ideation and/or self-harm may not be the right candidate for telehealth counseling (or may be the reason a cousnelor will deny a client’s request for telehealth counseling). If you end your session without warming or during an extreme emotional wave or during an abreaction, the counselor cannot be assured of your safety. A counselor may discuss a specific plan of action for these situations or they may recommend in person services. If you are in an abusive relationship and do not have the benefit of privacy, telehealth counseling might be dangerous. It also poses a security risk if you are concerned that your phone or computer is monitored by your abusive partner or caregiver.

Objections to Technology
Whether you simply dislike technology, you experience paranoia related to being recorded or listened to, or you’re intimidated by technology, some clients have an aversion to the idea of telehealth counseling.