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Terms for TeleMental Health

Word Collage

What do we call behavioral health sessions where the client and clinician are not in the same location but rely on technology to communicate?

There are so many terms and definitions for this that it often causes confusion.  Knowing which term or definition to use is often determined by context. Among other terms used, social workers have used the term technology-assisted social work, psychologists have used the term e-psychology, and counselors have used the term distance-counseling.  Clinicians who specialize in using texting for therapy have referred to it as text-therapy, providers marketing to tech-savvy clients have used the terms web-based or cyber-counseling.  

State licensing boards will sometimes select a term and then define that term in a way that restricts the ways in which the clinician can communicate remotely with the client in the provision of psychotherapy.  For example, a licensing board may define “teletherapy” as providing psychotherapy via audio-visual synchronous means in order to make it clear that they do not allow therapy to be provided via asynchronous means (i.e. store-and-forward).  

Often terms for mental healthcare services provided from a distance are created by adding the prefix "tele- " (meaning “over a distance”) to the beginning of other words.  Such as telemental health, telebehavioral health, teletherapy, and telepsychology.  Other terms used for psychotherapy provided from a distance are telepractice, eMental health, mobile health, online therapy, internet therapy, video therapy, virtual therapy, and eTherapy.  

In 2016 Jay Ostrowski and Traci P. Collins surveyed 151 mental health licensing boards in the United States and found that 42 different terms were used (You can view that and more in their work: Ostrowski, J., & Collins, T.P. (2016). A Comparison of Telemental Health Terminology Used across Mental Health State Licensure Boards). 

Other words that may be helpful to know when referring to the delivery of telemental health: 

  • The location of the client has two categories:
    • Supervised site - where there is support staff available (i.e. a hospital)
    • Un-supervised site - where there is no support staff available (i.e. their home)
  • Terms used for the clinician’s and client’s locations during the session:
    • Clinician - distant site, Client - originating site
    • Clinician - hub, Client - spoke
  • Clinic-to-clinic (CTC) refers to when the client is at a supervised site.
  • Direct-to-consumer (DTC) refers to when the client is at an unsupervised site.
  • When communication occurs at the same time (i.e. phone, video) it is called synchronous; if communication is delayed (i.e. email), then it is called asynchronous.
  • Terms used for telehealth roles:
    • Telehealth coordinator - is the individual who co-creates, maintains, and manages a telehealth program.  They are the main point person for a telehealth program.
    • Telehealth facilitator - is a staff member on-site with the client during a session who ensures the functionality of the technology and assists the client throughout the session.
    • Telehealth consultant - is the clinician providing the service to the client.
    • Patient-support-person - is an individual available on site to assist the client in the event of an emergency.

As you can imagine, there are likely more terms than we just listed here for what we call Telemental Health, and more are being created all the time. It’s important to take the time to learn which terms are used by your state licensing board and payers and how they define those terms.

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Oustanding presentation!!!
Michelle Collins

Helpful and inviting information to get started. Feel empowered to get this going and eager to start!

Dena Damaskinos

Well presented, easy to access and understand.

Sedonia Perrier
CEO / Steelhead LLC

This was very informative.

Wendy Pazdur
Substance Abuse Counselor / Transformation therapy
This course was full of detailed information, that I will utilize in my practice. I highly recommend this training to all interested in adding to their existing practice or transitioning to Telehealth Services.
Utopia Session
Class was informative.
Kimberly Horrell
This course was short yet informative.
Annette Cornish
Therapist / Dust 2 Destiny Counseling & Wellness
Great training!
Jacqueline Hayes, M.Ed., LPC, LMHP
Professional Counselor 4 / State of LA
Ray was a wonderful, interactive instructor who really captured the heart of counseling in the world of Telehealth. The course was thorough and beneficial. Two thumbs up!
Rachel Morales
Licensed Professional Counselor
Ray does a spectacular job presenting the ethics in technology! Thank you!
Elaine Marie Barclay
Licensed Professional Counselor/ Assistant Professor / Shorter University/ Capella University
Very beneficial and useful to the direction i am moving of providing therapy
Linda Marie Margosian, MS, NCC, LMHC
I thought the video was very informative and gave me a good back ground on Telehealth , hippa laws and things I needed to know to run an ethical and hippa complent practice .
Meg Maginn
Director /private practitioner / Eating Disorder Associates

I believe this is a good course to take because this is the new wave of society. As a therapist I would like to be able to offer clients the best tools available.

Wihletta Michelle Davis MA, LPC
Therapist / Find the Miracle Within...
This course was very informative for me as a clinician and for my profession
Roseline Ngoeh
Community Clinician / NPS

Thank you for the introduction to telemental health.

Michele Frances Purvin
Psychotherapist / Michele Frances Purvin, LCSW, LCDC

Very good.

Franklin Castillo

Really excellent training full of valuable information and resources - surpassed my expectations!

Dori Ryherd
Therapist / The Cognitive Refinery

Great information with step by step instructions

Donna Tucker
Addiction Counselor / Spectrum Health

What a superb introduction to telemental health, well organized and packed with useful tips. I so appreciate this. Thank you.

Ann P Cahouet
Owner - Clinician / Equine Assisted Solutions LLC

Awesome job! This is a very insightful presentation.

ZUNILDA CHAUDRY
Licensed Therapist, LPC / Seasons of Change Behavioral Health Services, Inc
Ray is down-to-earth, warm, pragmatic and exceptionally well-informed.
G. Reid Doster, LPC, LMFT
Director of Behavioral Health, EXCELth Inc.Primary Health Network & Private Practice Psychotherapist / www.excelth.com

An excellent course, but needs more legal information regarding where the patient needs to reside.

Barry Barmann
Clinical Psychologist / Behavior Therapy & Family Counseling Clinic
This legal course was phenomenal saturated with much detail and clarity!
Elaine Marie Barclay
Licensed Professional Counselor, Assistant Professor / Capella University and Shorter University
Great and very informative! Will help me take my skills to a new level. Gave me a great idea of how the session should go.
Jessica Latin
LPC / JL Counseling

Course provided several case scenarios regarding Interstate counseling and resource websites for further research.

Cowenda Jefferson
Clinical Director / Wise Life Choices LLC
Course provided additional information regarding the legal aspects of TeleMental Health.
Cowenda Jefferson
Clinical Director / Wise LIfe Choices LLC
I have completed prior training by Raymond and greatly appreciate his detailed and thorough trainings.
Dr Lynn Duffy, PsyD, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, BCPCC, BC-TMH, Diplomate/CMH in Trauma
Director/Counselor/Mediator / Lighthouse Counseling & Consulting Services
This course was most helpful in helping me make my practice more compliant for me and my clients.
Marlene Small
Private Psychotherapist
This is the 4th TMH course I have taken with Ray and it is BY FAR the best TMH training out there. I've learned so much that I can use every day in my practice.
Dawn Ferrara
LPC-S, LMFT

Very Informative

Naomie Pierre
community clinician / nps
I loved this course. It was very informative and provide a great deal of information about ethics.
Tracey Marshall
Easy to learn and easy to follow. User friendly on-line course.
Kelly Johnson
Licensed Mental Health Therapist

Awesome

Melissa J Davis
LAPC- counselor
This was a phenomenal training and necessary for the continued growth of all helping professionals. This will certainly improve the manner in which I conduct counseling.
Elaine Marie Barclay
This training was extremely informative and supportive for professionals looking to gain further knowledge in Telemental health.
Marcy Abramsky
LCSW / Marcy Abramsky LCSW, InspireAmind TM Counseling and Consulting
I found this video to be very informative and helpful.
Michelle Parker
Contract Therapist

Great course, very informative!

Ashley Simmons
BCBA / Northstar Psychological Services

Love the course, worth every penny!!! Definitely helped jump start my Tele-mental health services!

Nakia Clark
Owner/ Therapist / Insightfullly You, LLC

This gave me and my staff some important insights and information regarding telehealth..

Larry Cowan
Executive Director / Samaritan Counseling and Growth

This course was easy and user friendly

Vanessa Reiser
Social Worker / JBFCS

I learned a great deal from this program and look forward to implementing telemental health in my therapy practice.

Michelle Hitchcock
Therapist

It was fantastic! Just the forms he provides are worth the cost of the course!

Mark Wagemaker, LPC, NCC, DCC, CPCS
Counselor, Clinical Supervisor / Transitions Counseling

This was an excellent class and worth my time.  Ray provided great information and is clearly an expert in TMH!

Jennifer Stuckert
Director / Restoration Counselor of Atlanta, LLC

I found these courses informative and helpful. They make establishing best practices policies and procedures for telemental health services and supervising those who provide them. so much easier. I highly recommend his courses.

Nena Rybarczyk, MA, EMBA, LPC, NCC, CPCS
Counselor / Strategies for Life Counseling, LLC

Ray's workshop was one of the most informative I have taken in years. He brought clarity to took a topic which has been intimidating and I left feeling empowered!

TRUDY POST SPRUNK, LMFT-S LPC CPCS RPT-S CPT-S EMD
Clinical Supervisor and Play Therapist / Georgia Association for Play Therapy