The mental health industry rapidly changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therapists and clients alike were faced with daunting challenges of how to give and receive adequate care in response to government restrictions. One intriguing response was led by multi-billion dollar technology companies that created apps to offer telehealth therapy services. These apps allow for increased access to therapy services and they quickly proved to be successful and profitable. Still, it’s important to consider the well-being of the client and the quality of therapy that these apps are able to provide.

Client experience with telehealth apps is concerning in part due to the transactional nature of the therapy provided. It’s important that clients are able to research the background and experience of their therapists before paying for any services. It is also important that clients feel that they have a connection with their therapist prior to meeting with them. After all, the therapeutic relationship is much more than a commodity that should be profited off of. According to Dr. Marlene Maheu, the Executive Director of Telebehavioral Health Institute, “The truth is, most clinicians are untrained and therefore unaware of the procedures or tools needed to work responsibly online… Meanwhile, they are fully responsible for working with unscreened, online clients and patients who could be seriously mentally ill — and therefore potentially lethal.” Dr. Maheu perfectly encompasses the serious work that trained mental health professionals must be prepared for.

In conclusion, what we have seen at The Counseling Place is that nearly all of our clients want the opportunity to work with their therapist in person, and some like the hybrid model of in-person and virtual sessions. The hybrid model allows flexibility for our clients. In addition, our clients appreciate that our therapists are closely vetted to ascertain that they are prepared for private practice clientele. We do not interview potential therapists on a virtual platform, rather personally in our offices. We value the close relationship we have with our clients and maintain our practice in a way that this will never be compromised. Seeing a therapist is a very important decision in someone’s life and we take this very seriously.