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Totally Psyched Goes Virtual to Ensure No Interruption in Support - Learn More

By Dr. Sarah Watson, Clinic Director | 03/20/2020
Totally Psyched Goes Virtual to Ensure No Interruption in Support - Learn More | Totally Psyched
Image from Totally Psyched Goes Virtual to Ensure No Interruption in Support - Learn More by Dr. Sarah Watson, Clinic Director.

The Totally Psyched Team Embraces Telehealth Options

While COVID-19/Coronavirus is presenting all of us with challenges we have never had to manage before we want to make sure you and your family are getting what you need from us. Health events like this can be unsettling and at times scary. It can also cause additional distress and overwhelm that can be even more concerning when our loved ones are psychologically vulnerable. Our team at Totally Psyched want to make sure you and your kids are going to be okay during this time especially.

We would like you to know we have been working hard behind the scenes making responsive changes to the way we provide support so we can continue to provide what you and your young ones need. We have adapted our clinic procedures to ensure high levels of protection and sanitation at all times and now we're excited to announce we're also going virtual! Our team at Totally Psyched are embracing technology and are offering telehealth options through teletherapy and telemedicine to all our clients and families, at absolutely no extra cost to you.

We are taking our Totally Psyched families' safety and well being very seriously and by offering options that are accessible while in self-isolation we are hopeful we can continue to provide psychiatric and psychological services to all our families. We will remain here for you.

What is Teletherapy & Telemedicine?
Teletherapy, also know as online therapy, e-therapy or video therapy, is therapy delivered through a virtual platform via a computer. Telemedicine is medical assessment, in this case from a Psychiatrist that is also delivered in the same way. If you've ever used FaceTime or Skype then you know what we mean, it's essentially the same thing - except more secure and with a qualified Psychologist or Psychiatrist.

Teletherapy has been around since the 1990's worldwide and is considered a highly effective method for therapy delivery. Plus, in the current times it is potentially the safest way to maintain social distancing and protection while giving young people and families the ongoing support they need.

How Do Online Therapy Sessions Work?
Teletherapy sessions work very much the same way as traditional therapy sessions with only one significant difference - the Psychologist and the client are not in the same room. Sessions are scheduled as usual via the Totally Psyched receptionists via email or phone and then an invite to the appointment is emailed to you with a link to a secured platform (more about that later) and password. When the time comes for the appointment you click on the link, enter in the password and the Psychologist and client can see and hear each other in real-time during the session via the use of webcams and headsets. Most computers don't need headsets although using them can improve privacy and sound quality for the client.

How Do Online Paediatric Psychiatric Assessments Work?
Telemedicine assessment sessions are much the same as therapy sessions except they often include parents and their child together while they speak to, see and hear the Psychiatrist in real-time. If any medical measurements of weight, height or blood pressure are needed the Psychiatrist will direct you on the best way to get these to forward to him. Prescriptions (if made) are forwarded direct to your local pharmacy for collection.

Are Telehealth Sessions Private?
All Teletherapy and Telemedicine telehealth sessions are private. Psychiatrists and Psychologists are ethically and legally bound by privacy laws to not share details about their telehealth sessions with third parties (except in the case of safety concerns when we may need to involve others to ensure a young person's safety), just as with face-to-face sessions. Psychs must ensure they are in a private and secure room before engaging in any telehealth sessions. Sessions should not be recorded or shared, unless with explicit agreement from the client/patient.

In terms of the security of the software used, we use a specialised software called Zoom that is fully encrypted and password protected, offering a high level of security and privacy.

Is Teletherapy as Effective as Face to Face Therapy?
How effective teletherapy is really depends on the individual and their reasons for seeking therapy. Since it first began to be used as a treatment method more than 20 years ago, psychological research has explored the different ways teletherapy has been used, and it's effectiveness.

Research to date shows very promising effectiveness for teletherapy, however many therapists stress that one of the critical components for successful therapy is the relationship between patient and therapist, and in-person connections can be vital for successful treatment. For individuals who experience difficulty forming relationships or struggle with social interaction, traditional face-to-face therapy could be more beneficial in overcoming these challenges.

How Do I Set Up our Appointments To Be Virtual?
Please email our admin team on referrals@psyched.org.nz or phone on (09) 320 3086 and request your appointment be virtual. The team will check your contact details and set this up for you. We will also be contacting everyone with appointments coming up to offer this service.

Let's Keep Each Other Safe
If you are coming in to the clinic please ensure you are well. We have children, adolescents and adults among our families who are vulnerable to viral infection so please do not come to the clinic if any of the following apply to you:
- You or a family member are experiencing fever, flu-like symptoms, runny nose, feel generally unwell
- You have arrived from overseas in the last 14-28 days
- You have been in contact with anyone who may have COVID-19
At Totally Psyched please be assured the team is taking every precaution around our own health. No one on the team has been travelling recently or exposed to COVID-19. We have increased our sanitation, with daily cleaning and disinfecting. Please be reassured we have your safety in the forefront of our minds. If you would like to come in the clinic please feel welcome to bring your own hand sanitiser and wipes, toys or books - we will not be offended. We also request you come in on time for your appointments and we will endeavour to be on time with all appointment so as to reduce the time anyone is in the waiting area together. If you prefer to wait outside the clinic please let reception know you have arrived and we will come and get you when your appointment is ready to begin.

Want to know more? Here are some links you may find useful
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus
https://www.telehealth.org.nz/
https://therapyworks.com/what-is-teletherapy/
https://iocdf.org/covid19/teletherapy-in-the-time-of-covid-19/
https://slate.com/technology/2020/03/coronavirus-pandemic-therapy-online-teletherapy.html
https://zoom.us/
If you need more information do not hesitate to ask on referrals@psyched.org.nz or phone (09) 320 3086