Telehealth might be part of best-social-distancing practices for now.

Many therapists and psychiatrists in my community (including myself, as of 3/14/20) are rapidly shifting to providing sessions only via teleconferencing for the indefinite future due to coronavirus concerns. Others are offering teletherapy as options for particular individuals (those who are immunocompromised, in some other vulnerable population such as older adults, or who have great anxiety about using public transit, etc.). I was personally swayed to make the move because of the great uncertainty at this moment about who is infected and the lack of testing. When both of these variables are better defined (hopefully in 2-3 weeks), I will likely move to an approach more tailored to individual circumstances.

Of course, telehealth (including audio calls) is a privilege that not everyone can access, particularly those in community public mental health treatment. Also, telehealth is often not as good as in-person visits, especially for initial sessions. (See my article “Teletherapy: Breakthrough or Breakdown?”, September 26, 2011.)

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