University Business May 2018 - 27

Teletherapy at a glance
Teletherapy has been around for more than two decades and
can be delivered through videoconferencing, phone or online
messaging.
Alternate terms for teletherapy include telebehavioral health,
telepsychiatry, e-behavioral health, telemental health, e-care
and telecare.
Multiple peer-reviewed studies, including several meta-analyses,
show that teletherapy is as effective as in-person therapy for
certain conditions.
While teletherapy is much like traditional therapy, experts
suggest clinicians be trained in leading sessions remotely.
Any clinician with a license to write prescriptions for in-person
therapy is permitted to do the same for teletherapy clients.
As long as it's provided by a licensed professional, teletherapy is
covered by most health insurance and is HIPPA-compliant.
Some colleges that provide teletherapy offer it only to students
who are off campus for an internship or to students who take all
their courses online.

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For an internal solution, institutions can train their therapists
to check in with students via Skype or Facetime, or offer online,
self-guided tutorials.
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When using an outside provider, staff clinicians will still
generally conduct a needs assessment in person or by phone
before connecting a student to teletherapy.
State licensing regulations require teletherapists to be located
within the same state as their client.

By Theresa Sullivan Barger
Sherry Benton, former director of the
University of Florida's student counseling
center. "You can affect the entire trajectory
of someone's life.
"For me, this was intolerable. We
needed to find a way to get more services
to more students," adds Benton, who is
founder of TAO Connect Inc., which delivers remote behavioral health therapy via
college counseling centers.
Options for teletherapy vary widely,
but all methods direct students to seek
immediate care if they're in crisis or are
considering harming themselves or othwww.universitybusiness.com

ers. The general practice is to offer teletherapy for more mild conditions that
respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy. But it can help get students who are
in distress immediate in-person therapy
because those who avoid their college
counseling center may initially only reach
out for teletherapy.
Teletherapists may be psychiatrists,
psychologists or licensed clinical social
workers. Institutions most likely to seek
teletherapy services for students are those
with few behavioral health clinicians in
their communities and schools without

on-campus counseling-such as satellite
campuses and some community colleges,
says Sharon Mitchell, head of the Association of University and College Counseling
Center Directors (AUCCCD).
The onset of severe mental illness, such
as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, often
strikes when people are in their late teens
and early 20s-and it's common for people with these conditions to escalate to the

UBmag.me/telehelp

May 2018 | 27


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