Previously carried out primarily through in-person appointments where both practitioners and patients interacted in the same physical space, psychiatry and therapy visits increasingly began to take place through digital mediums (e.g., phone calls or video chats). According to UnitedHealth Group, there were 14 million telemental health visits in 2022 alone.
Therapy and psychiatry are different but collaborative disciplines.
Like other areas of health different providers have different functions. While teletherapy and telepsychiatry may accidentally be used in conversation interchangeably, what they are and what they do for their patients is different. Understanding how a therapist and psychiatrist differ and understanding how they operate in telemedicine may help you chose the best service for you.
In online therapy, patients meet remotely with a licensed mental health professional to talk through their emotions, thoughts, and feelings, receive a diagnosis if necessary, and treat their ailment with a non-medical or behavioral approach.
Some of the more common types of therapy include:
Just like teletherapy, telepsychiatry is also conducted digitally.
However, the goals and strategies of these appointments are different. While psychiatrists may incorporate behavioral techniques, they also focus on the biological causes of behavioral health issues. Utilizing their medical training, professional experience, and the latest academic research, psychiatrists attempt to determine whether a patient would benefit from medical treatment or intervention, and prescribe the most effective one based on the patient’s needs.
Though telepsychiatry and teletherapy arose primarily out of necessity, mental health professionals and their clients have found several advantages associated with virtual mental health care, including:
As telemedicine has become more mainstream provider’s skills in offering digital care has improved. However there are a few obstacles to keep in mind when seeking telehealth providers:
Telepsychiatry and teletherapy are critical resources in our mental health toolkits. Though they share many similarities, they utilize significantly different approaches to treatment. While therapists emphasize talk and behavioral strategies, psychiatrists prescribe medication and medical treatments.
Therapy and psychiatry often go hand in hand for a patient’s care, and it can be tricky to go between providers employed through different companies.
At Heading we have found it beneficial to provide patients access to both therapists and psychiatrist so that care is collaborative between the patient and their team of providers. With many services like medication management for traditionally prescribed oral antidepressants (i.e. Celexa, Paxil etc.), or talk therapy (i.e. cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, trauma therapies, and psychodynamic therapies etc.) these services can be offered via telehealth. However we also acknowledge that not all treatments are best done from home, and also offer transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and IM Ketamine and Spravato® treatments in our Austin and Dallas Centers. Our fully remote and hybrid dynamics of care require that all providers involved in patient care stay in collaboration with one another. Our team-based approach allows for more ease in the process.
It is important to feel good about both the relationship you personally have with your therapist and psychiatrist. Also consider the relationship and communication between these two key members of the mental healthcare team.
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