There was a time when needed to wait for a considerable time if you want to phone somebody. Tele-technology has undergone unimaginable change over time. As far as time is concerned, it never comes in the way of consulting medico-personnel for immediate remedial measures. It is still a debatable matter if telephone therapy can have the same advantages of face-to-face physical consultation.
Nevertheless, under the circumstances, it is not only effective, rather a necessity. For instance, alcoholic addiction can be well prevented just by counseling over the phone. Some non-profit organizations are dedicatedly working in this line with a successful outcome.
The smartphones can now exhibit the visuals and video actions of two persons talking. The facility of WhatsApp, too, can interchange still photos, videos, and images of documents instantly. As a result, therapists can reach distant and remote places. They can make their diagnosis based on the visual cues they get. A person having psychiatric issues could be handled by a therapeutic approach. But, other severe psychiatric cases need a more profound observation of the emotional responses and body language of the patients.
In such a case, telephone therapy may not be active. But, it is a necessity for those who have a social anxiety disorder or are under trauma. Such patients can’t go out to consult a therapist. Moreover, another person closely associated with the patients can better explain the prevailing condition and activities of the patient.
Some people cannot pay fees of even the generalists, leave aside the specialist. There are certain constraining features in the health insurance that limits the affordability. A typical instance is the health insurance does permit reimbursement of medical expenses incurred for psychotherapy.
Even if allowed by some health insurance company, the insured persons do not like to be treated for mental health, fearing that they may be treated differently by their employers concerning promotion. They may rightly apprehend that their colleagues, too, may see them with an inferior eye. The overall service charges of telephone therapy are much lower than the traditional talk-n-check method of therapy.
The payment term also is easy and affordable. Instead of specific dollars per hour, billing for phone therapy is done on a weekly or monthly basis. The telephone therapist does not incur establishment costs in the shape of staff and rent. The costs so saved are passed on to the clients.
Easy and Convenient
In some instances, work obligation or pre-occupation with business may come in the way of fixing an appointment and then consulting the therapist at the scheduled time. On the contrary, you can avail of phone counseling from anywhere at any time.
You can realize the importance of phone therapy if any medical emergency arises at odd dates like Sunday and odd times like the dead of the night. However, there are certain constraints in telephone therapy. A psychotherapist may be hesitant to prescribe for a person whom he has never seen in person. However, there will always be a lack of sympathetic and consoling words of the doctor.
A Case Study in England
A research was conducted by the Cambridge University in association with NHS Midland & East and NIHR CLAHRC and found that telephone therapy provides increased access to psychological therapies for those having common mental disorders. A comparison was made of telephone therapy with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that is delivered face to face.
It was found that the cost per session was lower by 36.2%. At the same time, except an identifiable and infrequent clinical group with more severity of ailments had the same effect as they would have by a face-to-face consultation. This study was made by taking data from 39,000 patients in the East of England. NHS Midlands & East has taken steps to ensure that therapists are competent enough to listen to problems and counsel over phones. It has integrated a training program of standardizing the service delivery.
The debate above indicates that phone therapy is useful in some instances, whereas it is disadvantaged in most cases. It can be concluded that this kind of therapy is most suited for the disadvantaged. At the same time, it suits those who have work commitments, transportation problems, and physical disabilities.