The effects of the pandemic are far-reaching. Though it may seem far-fetched, some experts are proposing new models of care after the end of the pandemic. These hybrid models include telemedicine services and in-office counseling sessions — along with traditional therapy sessions conducted by physicians. Telemedicine applications have been available since the mid-2000s, but their use has increased greatly since the onset of the pandemic. Now, telehealth applications are available for patients to use at any time — even before the arrival of a healthcare worker.
The combination of social media, mobile devices, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is revolutionizing the way psychologists practice and deliver treatment. Mobile apps for mental health boost access, decreasing wait times and increasing provider efficiency. CBT is changing how psychological research is conducted, disseminated, and translated. Results are being translated into new interventions and educational programs for physicians and patients alike. Telemedicine and other technologies can make it easier for people with psychological problems to reach doctors in remote areas.
“Numerous studies indicate it [teletherapy] can be just as effective as seeing a practitioner in the office. There is no question that teletherapy is here to stay,” explained Jared L. Skillings from the American Psychological Association.
The thought of having someone assess your mental health is a terrifying one — one that suggests the therapist may be acting out of a desire to make you better, or simply because they think you need it. Yet despite the fact that psychotherapy remains an inherently clinical specialty, many individuals and groups are looking at ways to provide care more ambitiously outside of an office setting. For individuals struggling with anxiety and depression, telehealth offers a hopeful alternative to medication — and one that reduces the possibility of devastating side effects while also improving the quality of life overall. Some patients prefer video conferences over in-person contact, and for those who can’t go to a clinic every day, telemedicine can allow doctors to offer quick solutions for emerging conditions.