Module 1: What is online therapy?

Online therapy is the delivery of therapy services using internet and telecommunication technologies from a distance.

It links clinicians with clients and their families (or clinician to clinician) for assessments, interventions, evaluations, monitoring, consultations, continued professional development, and supervision.

Modes of online therapy:

-        Videoconferencing

-        Emails

-        Telephone calls

-        Phone texting

-        Instant messaging

-        Sharing of videos, images or audio clips

-        Mobile apps

-        Gaming with monitoring/feedback

Types of online therapy:

Synchronous

Interactive,

In real time

E.g. Videoconferencing

Asynchronous

Store & forward,

At a convenient time

E.g. Sharing of videos, images or audio clips

Hybrid

Applying synchronous,

asynchronous, & in-person services

E.g. Mixture of modes

Online therapy facts:

·       Online therapy is a legitimate service delivery model that can increase access and choice for clients.

·       You do not have to be a technology expert to do online therapy: it is merely the vehicle by which we can provide therapy services.

·       Online therapy is also known as telepractice, telehealth, telemedicine, or eHealth.

·       Evidence shows that clinicians are able to build rapport effectively with a variety of client groups online.

 

Online therapy tip:

Umbo ALWAYS works with a key support person in the client’s life (e.g. parent, carer, teacher, allied heath assistant).

This person will be able to support the family, communicate regularly with you, and follow through with intervention strategies between consultations.

Online therapy examples:

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Isaac has cerebral palsy and lives on a rural property. The nearest Occupational Therapist (OT) is 4 hours away. In his National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan, Isaac has a goal to be able to dress his upper body independently. By delivering a hybrid online therapy service, an OT from the nearest city is able to provide intervention strategies via email, then use videoconferencing to observe what Isaac is doing, and coach his parents on how to implement the strategies at home.

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Sandra does not have access to a local Speech Pathologist (SP) who can assist her with her stutter. The SP is able to coach Sandra’s education support worker at school by providing model video and audio clips. The education support worker sends back video and audio clips of Sandra in return. The worker and SP regularly communicate via phone.

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William and his family live in regional New South Wales. William has autism and requires early intervention services. His therapist is able to visit him every 3 months. In between face-to-face sessions, the therapist and William’s allied health assistant videoconference fortnightly to monitor progress.