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Distance Counseling



What is distance counseling?

Distance counseling is the delivery of counseling by mental health professionals via secure video chat. Clients can meet with clinicians from the comfort of their own home. Why would someone choose to use distance counseling?

  • Convenience– No more scrambling to get to a therapist’s office. No travel time also means there’s no problem fitting an appointment into your busy day. 
  • Effectiveness- Many studies have demonstrated that online counseling can be just as effective as in-person counseling.
  • Privacy- There’s no chance of running into anyone in the waiting room when you’re meeting your therapist online.

Is distance counseling effective?
Yes, studies from leading institutions have shown similar treatment outcomes when comparing distance counseling with face-to-face counseling. Click here for a sample list of effectiveness studies.

Is distance counseling “legal”?
Yes, distance counseling is recognized and regulated by many state licensing boards, including the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Boards of Allied Mental Health.

Is distance counseling secure?
Yes, Family Counseling Associates uses a premium video chat platform with 256-bit encryption. Our system is HIPAA complaint and all video and audio streams are encrypted. This means that clients can enter a session securely, and participants can only join a video chat session if they are invited and approved. Please Note: For your security, we strongly recommend that you do not engage in distance counseling on public computers.

How can I know if distance counseling is for me?
Distance counseling has many benefits, but it is not for everyone. If you have never used a video chat system like Skype (or don’t even know what “Skype” is) then distance counseling may not be for you. If you consider yourself “technologically challenged”, distance counseling may not be for you.

Distance counseling is also not appropriate for clients with chronic mental illness, or for clients who are experiencing acute symptoms. If you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Is distance counseling covered by insurance?
Yes, in most cases distance counseling is covered by most health plans in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

What technology do I need to do distance counseling?
At a minimum you will need a high speed internet connection and a computer that is preferably no more that 5 years old. You should have a web camera and a headset with a microphone is recommended. To learn more about the factors which impact video/chat quality, and the equipment needed to improve connections, Click here.