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At CHC's Catherine T. Harvey Center for Clinical Services we offer online counseling for children, teens and young adults.
Contact us to find out if teletherapy is the right option for your family.
Receive a secure meeting link before your appointment.
Speak with your therapist at the scheduled time.
Teletherapy is the safe, secure and effective online delivery of therapy services. CHC utilizes Zoom’s HIPAA-compliant healthcare platform, meeting clients where they are while requiring passwords and ensuring privacy. Whether you are already seeing a therapist, have been meaning to make an appointment, or are facing mental health challenges exacerbated by current events, we are here for you. CHC never wants cost to be a barrier for your family and offers financial aid on a sliding scale. Our care team will work with you to confidentially assess your financial concerns and needs in order to access our best-in-class care.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders found that online cognitive behavioral therapy was equally as effective as face-to-face treatment for major depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Studies conducted across five different countries confirm that a strong therapeutic alliance can be developed through telehealth sessions. “What we’ve seen is that telehealth is essentially just as effective as face-to-face psychotherapy — and retention rates are higher,” says David Mohr, PhD, director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who has spent his career studying telepsychology and digital mental health.
If this is your first time using teletherapy, treat the session as you would an in-person appointment. Find a space with minimal distractions like phones, family members or email notifications. Please be on time, allowing extra cushion for unanticipated internet or login issues. It may be nerve-wracking for you or your child to log in for the first time, but not to worry, CHC therapists are pros at making clients feel comfortable and at-ease. Relax, take a deep breath and prepare to feel better.
Here are some of the ways CHC experts leverage teletherapy to collaborate with families and support their clients in meaningful and sustainable ways.
Executive Functioning helps kids plan and achieve their goals. For children struggling with distance learning or disengaged with all things academic, teletherapy allows therapists to offer encouragement, executive functioning coaching, and best practices for at-home learning. By breaking down actual assignments into manageable chunks, students learn organization, time-management and study skills. A CHC therapist recently coached the parents of an 8-year-old to create a daily timeline to help her track and manage her own schedule, boosting confidence and reducing reliance on her full-time working parents.
Social Emotional Learning helps kids understand emotions and building interpersonal skills. Many of us have accepted the fact that distance learning is not how most kids are wired to develop academically or social-emotionally. But rather than worrying about academic setbacks, teletherapy can help children, teens and young adults leverage other opportunities for growth while sheltered-in-place. Empathy, family connection, creativity, patience, flexibility, frugality, responsibility, simplicity, gratitude, tolerance, compromise and mindfulness are all critical life skills that we can use this time to hone. And teletherapy is an invaluable tool to facilitate SEL development while coping with stressors like boredom, disappointment, family tensions, missed milestones and the lack of social outlets. For example, a CHC therapist recently led a role-play activity for an 11-year-old and her parents to practice identifying, reacting and talking about various emotions.
Occupational Therapy supports physical development and self-regulation. Teletherapy also opens new doors for Occupational Therapists (OTs). What better time to teach kids how to share space and set boundaries or create a functional and flexible learning schedule? OTs have been partnering with parents to utilize household items for visual motor integration, create obstacle courses to enhance gross motor skills, transition away from screen time, incorporate chores into sensory-processing activities (e.g., meal preparation, folding laundry, taking out trash, cleaning, etc.), establish bedtime routines, regulate emotions, practice social skills and control impulses through turn-taking games. For example, a CHC therapist recently guided the parents of a 5-year-old to make a yarn maze in the living room to practice directives like “step over” and “crawl under.”
Speech and Language Therapy offers support for communication challenges. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) have been making breakthroughs via teletherapy by helping families create optimal home environments to account for auditory processing challenges and other modifications normally used in the classroom (e.g., quiet study areas, processing and repeating directions, comprehension checks.) SLPs have also advised families on how to implement IEP goals during home-based activities; promoted social skills by facilitating “playdates” or “hangouts” online; incorporated speech and language goals like articulation, inferences and summarization into the client’s academic program; provided visual supports to help students stay on task; and built confidence and communication skills to prompt students to ask for help. SLPs can consult with teachers to discuss ways to break down assignments for learners with diverse needs, and suggest books, videos and games for families to reinforce specific goals. SLPs can provide weekly parent consultations to share strategies and activities to practice the client’s goals within the parameters of existing structures and routines. Most importantly, assignments are customized to reflect each client’s interests. A CHC SLP recently helped the parents of a 5-year-old incorporate nature vocabulary and concepts into family hikes. Another CHC SLP encouraged the parents of a 4.5-year-old to use a flying remote control toy as a means for the child to practice alerting his parents and siblings about obstacles the toy might hit.
Medication Management provides expert advice for managing medication. For clients considering medication, shelter-in-place poses a unique opportunity for parents to be present during the acclimation phase, keeping an eye out for side effects and managing challenging transitions. Other parents might be thinking about decreasing their child’s dosage or taking a “medication vacation” with the absence of triggers like academic pressures and social stimuli. Either way, children can adjust to increased or decreased dosages in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. Via telehealth, seasoned adolescent and child psychiatrists can prescribe and manage medication needs to reflect changes in moods, behaviors and other variables.
Family Therapy offers improvement of family dynamics during times of stress and conflict. When one member of the family is struggling, the whole family struggles. Teletherapy can help improve communication and family dynamics by bringing an impartial clinical expert into the equation, helping resolve issues like:
Group Therapy and Support Groups provide expert emotional support plus peer connection. Sometimes we need to vent about the people we love most. It’s normal and healthy to share grievances, ask for help, and support others who are having a hard time. Parent and peer groups are ideal settings for these conversations and many of us miss the ability to interact with people going through similar challenges. Using teletherapy, we can connect with others from the safety of our own homes. In a group setting, we can find guidance and acceptance from people who understand, and realize that we are not alone.
Even the most at-risk teens with suicidal and self-harm thoughts and behaviors can access comprehensive DBT services through the RISE Intensive Outpatient Program, featuring a collaboration of experts from CHC and Stanford Children’s Health. The program is fully operational via teletherapy, allowing it to expand its borders beyond the Bay Area, to serve teens and families that wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend 4-day/week live sessions in Palo Alto. Thus, teletherapy is helping more teens build lives worth living and avoid ER visits and hospitalizations during the pandemic and beyond.
One of the most significant disadvantages of shelter-in-place regulations is the complete and sudden absence of social experiences. School campuses, parks, birthday parties and extracurricular activities are where kids learn how to interact, cooperate, negotiate, compromise and work as a team. While certainly not a replacement for the real thing, group therapy offers an opportunity to practice these skills virtually, and reduce feelings of isolation, loneliness and insecurity. During shelter-in-place, CHC has continued running its High School and Middle School Multi-Family DBT Skills Groups remotely, and recently launched an “Apart, Together” processing group for teens with mild to moderate mental health symptoms who might benefit from peer and professional support.
Meanwhile, parents can access CHC’s online support groups, classes and coaching to help ease anxieties around responding to children’s challenging behavior, supporting teens during shelter-in-place, and setting more realistic expectations for their kids (and themselves). CHC’s ADHD Parent Support Group is growing, and a new “Parenting during Uncertain Times” group recently launched. In the past 6 weeks, CHC has conducted 14 live webinars for parents on everything from “Is My Child Falling Behind?” to “How to be a Parent, a Teacher and a Human (all at the same time)” By allowing audiences to access live webinars from home, attendance has doubled as compared to in-person classes for the entire year prior.