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13700 83rd Way North #201
Maple Grove, MN 55369
MN Counseling and Couples Center is now offering HIPAA compliant, remote based therapy, that is conducted via a secure Internet connection. Online therapy, also known as “virtual therapy/counseling” or “telehealth” is therapy that is provided via a secure, end-to-end video streaming “virtual office” that you can access via your computer, or other electronic device, such as a mobile phone.
Online therapy is gaining interest for both clients for many reasons. Online therapy is a relatively new format versus in-office therapy, therefore the ethical and legal standards related to the technology, practice and treatment outcome of online therapy are evolving. However, early research is showing online therapy to be as effective as office-based therapy and even more favorable as a therapy format for many reasons.
Online therapy provides flexibility and convenience to clients in receive counseling services with a licensed therapist. Online therapy may be beneficial for clients who have:
• Difficulty scheduling around work or family obligations
• Small children or other child-care issues
• Transportation or accessibility barriers
• Limited access to specialized counseling services
• Other barriers where attending an in-office appointment is difficult
• Time constraints
• Simply a preference for receiving therapy in the convenience and privacy of one’s own personal environment
How Do I Pay for Online Therapy?
Online therapy is immediately available for those clients who are paying privately, or using their health savings/benefits plan to cover the cost of therapy. Payment will be taken prior to your session. Online therapy is now covered by some insurance plans, however a verification of insurance benefits will be necessary to ensure your policy covers the cost. If your insurance covers online therapy, you will be responsible for any co-payments or deductible payments, at the time of service. If you have any questions about insurance coverage for online therapy, please contact your insurance provider’s customer service.
How Does Online Therapy Work?
Online therapy works very similar to traditional in-office therapy. The initial sessions include assessing/understanding your concerns and setting goals for therapy. If you are using health insurance we will conduct a Diagnostic Assessment, to assess your diagnosis and assure that online therapy will be an appropriate means of service. The obvious difference with online therapy is you will not be in the office with your therapist. Therefore you are responsible for managing the space you are in while attending your virtual office counseling appointment. Shutting doors, turning off phones, and not allowing onlookers is strongly recommended. Virtual counseling sessions are for you only, and managing privacy on your end of the online connection is your responsibility.
Limitations to Online Counseling:
All therapists at MNCCC are trained to screen for disorders that may not be appropriate for this format. If you have any history of major psychiatric episodes, hospitalizations or active drug/alcohol/sex addiction or have been diagnosed with the following: Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder Type 1, Serious or Persistent Mental Illness, Schizophrenia; you must disclose this information to your therapist. In these circumstances, online therapy may not be provided. Additionally, online therapy is ruled out if a client states any desire to do harm to him/herself or others, or is court ordered to received therapy. Your therapist reserves the right to terminate online therapy service if a clinical judgment is made that online therapy is not the most effective format for receiving therapy. In these situations, in-office therapy will be offered, or a referral to another agency may be made.
Additionally, the therapists an MNCCC are licensed to conduct therapy in Minnesota, and are not certified for out-of-state practice of licensed services. Therefore, online counseling may not be used for a client whose residence is outside of Minnesota.
How do I get started with Online Therapy?
Prior to the initial session, the Informed Consent and Agreement For Online Therapy form will be reviewed and signed, to be sure you are thoroughly informed of the nature of virtual therapy including; requirements, risks, benefits, limitations and confidentiality. This is in addition to the Informed Consent and Agreement for Therapy services form. Both forms need to be signed and in your file prior to receiving services.
When you call MNCCC to schedule your appointment, simply let us know you would like to schedule an online therapy appointment versus an in-office session. You also have the ability to schedule your own sessions, via the client portal, but be sure you select the “online” session type. To use online therapy, you will need to have access to the Internet, along with a computer with a camera and microphone feature in addition to a private area free of interruptions.
There are two ways to join the video sessions:
1. The first is via your personal computer. When you schedule an online therapy appointment, you will be sent an e-mail that will contain a join link, plus a 4-digit room PIN that you will use to login from your computer. Each online therapy session used from your PC will have it’s own unique PIN. Clients will receive an e-mail reminder on the day of the appointment, with this same login information.
2. Secondly, you can use your mobile device by downloading a free app from the App Store or Android Market called “MyTherapist” (all one word). We will e-mail you a specific Client PIN, to log into your mobile app, where you will be able to join the online session. This is the same PIN you will use to login to your client portal.
Please click here for more specific details on how to login for online therapy; or contact our office at 763-400-7475 and we will gladly assist you.