Therapists Are Here For Us While We Stay At Home

. March 26, 2020.
Telehealth is an effective way to keep children connected to their therapists (Photo Credit: Miranda Keskes)
Telehealth is an effective way to keep children connected to their therapists (Photo Credit: Miranda Keskes)

These are unprecedented times. Emotions are high. There is real fear and anxiety over the unknown. Those who were receiving therapy services may feel the emotional strain of social distancing even more acutely because they can’t meet their therapists in-person. But face-to-face human connection is still possible through telehealth, the practice of providing health services such as therapy through a video connection. 

How it works

Many counseling centers, such as MetroEHS Pediatric Therapy, have been offering telehealth long before COVID-19 appeared, providing services such as speech, occupational therapy (OT), and ABA therapy. Now, many therapists are offering these services to meet the needs of their current and prospective clients. 

A2 Therapy Works began teletherapy services on March 17th. They are finding ways to get creative with kids who are used to in-person OT. On their blog, they share tips for families on how to continue OT at home. 

Melissa Satti, LPC, owner of Ann Arbor Counseling Associates, explains that telehealth can look a little different depending on the age of the client. Privacy has to be ensured, especially for teens who she says, “are loving teletherapy.” For younger children, there are unique challenges. Therapists often use tools in-person, so they are providing parents with suggestions for items to have on-hand such as fidgets and squishies.  

Satti explains that the process is simple. The client and therapist find a mutual time to connect and then a calendar link is shared so they can “meet” online. For those who feel overwhelmed by the process, clients can connect with their patient coordinator ahead of time to walk them through the process.

Importance of mental health

Recognizing the importance of mental health during this critical time, many health insurance companies are expanding their coverage, waiving co-pays and even reimbursing in full. As a courtesy, Ann Arbor Counseling Associates is verifying people’s benefits to limit the chance of unexpected out of pocket expenses. As always, it’s important to check with your insurance provider to find out how they will support you. 

Satti encourages current clients to continue meeting with their therapists using telehealth. “Now is not the time to take a break from mental health,” she says. She encourages those considering therapy to give telehealth a try. “We’re all in this together. We want to be a listening ear to provide peace of mind.”

Kaitlynn Morelli, LPC, R-DMT, has worked for Michigan Medicine and continues to support families through holistic mental services at Inspired Healing. A proponent of telehealth, she uses simple, straightforward language to support her adolescent clients: “It’s better to be sad and safe now than sorry and sick later.” 

Her advice for parents is to “make your home fun. Make it a loving, supportive place and take care of your own mental health.”  

If you’re not quite ready to try telehealth but are looking for support, Morelli suggests mental health apps, many of which are free, such as Headspace and InsightTimer

To learn more about telehealth or schedule an appointment, visit annarborcounselingservices.com or call 734-956-0051.