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As a result of COVID-19 and physical distancing measures, many people are now using telehealth or video conferencing to see their psychologist. As a team we have been fortunate in this transition in that our psychologists are familiar with online therapy and from a technical perspective it was a smooth transition. However, we have noticed that online psychology has been different in the past month for clients transitioning online for the first time versus what online therapy was like for our clients online prior to COVID-19. 

On March 12, the World Health Organisation formally declared coronavirus a pandemic. Australian authorities are focussed on limiting the community spread to (1) enable the healthcare system to appropriately respond and (2) avoid widespread illness for as long as possible, until a vaccine is available. The development, testing, and production of a vaccine is likely to take some time, although clinical trials are set to commence shortly. There are also concerns that the spread of COVID-19 may coincide with the seasonal influenza outbreak, creating even greater risk for vulnerable populations e.g., older adults and people with existing medical conditions. This week the Australian government announced $100 million in funding for telehealth services as part of the $2.4 billion package to combat coronavirus.

At a time when you are inundated with demand and trying to understand the procedures for managing COVID-19, it is likely the prospect of telehealth is another thing on a very long to do list. Having managed services in the not-for-profit and government sectors for many years I understand the importance of finding the balance between responding quickly and adopting a planned and considered approach.

Have you been considering doing seeing an online/telehealth psychologist or nutrition therapy online? Online or telehealth therapy can be a great way to access regular treatment at a time and place that works for you. Before you jump in and book an appointment here are some important things you should consider when looking for an online therapist.