Telepsychology is a provision of psychological services through information and communication technologies, such as telephone (voice and SMS), internet (chat and video conference), software (on the computer and even on the mobile phone) and social networks. This tool arises from the difficulties in making everyday problems compatible, such as work hours, family obligations, etc. with the assistance of a consultation of a specialist, specifically a psychologist.

This technique requires a detailed exchange of information between the psychologist and the client, structured sessions like consultations. The only variation in therapy is that it develops through telecommunication, so different techniques and abilities.

Telepsychology is a virtual consultation, that is to say, it allows a psychologist who finds in their consultation to receive on-line a patient who can be found anywhere, eliminating the problems of distance and coincidence of schedules. Besides, this system eliminates the problems of traditional self-help treatments, as this tool adapts to the type of patient according to their needs and characteristics. This application provides immediate feedback to patients.

Brief History

To locate historically the use of Telepsychology it is necessary to resort first to the emergence of telemedicine. Information on the use of Telemedicine has been available since 1924. But telemedicine was not used in psychiatric consultations until 1950. In this decade, it was used to help the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute to provide educational tools and patient care to a variety of population types.

However, the term Telepsychology was first used by Dwyer in 1973, although it did not have much impact and was limited to being implanted in some parts of rural Australia and New Zealand, where distances are very wide. In recent years, however, telemedicine in general and Telepsychology, in particular, have received a major boost through the development of Information and Communication Technologies.

For people living in remote areas, having a psychotherapeutic consultation with just one click is one of their greatest virtues. Group treatment can also be done with the whole family, even if they live in different cities or countries if treatment so requires.

There is currently an increase in the use of Telepsychology and ICTs in psychological treatments. As revealed by the study Telepsychology is on the rise, there has been greater use of telephone and email to offer different types of services including psychotherapy, counseling, consulting, and supervision.

The use of e-mail has increased considerably between 2000 and 2018. Approximately 30 percent of suppliers already used it once a week or more in 2018. Finally, regarding the use of videoconferencing, as expressed in this same study, it also had a considerable increase from 2% to 10% during that same period of time.

Objective

The social problems have been shown from a multitude of research that cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy is very effective. For example, social phobias, depression, eating disorders, and even schizophrenia.

Advantage

– Accessibility, for the use of clients in rural and remote areas.

– Additional hours of service, with the possibility of constant and continuous attention.

– Possibility of direct and immediate service.

– The client may feel less inhibited and this may allow for more emotional involvement.

– Complementation of face-to-face psychotherapy, with Tele assistance.

Disadvantage

– Verification of the psychologist’s authenticity can be difficult for the client.

– Confidentiality is limited by the security of the technology.

– Customers can develop virtual identities to safeguard their personal identity.

– Some of the problems that occur in therapy may be less appropriate to deal with them mechanically.

– The capacity for crisis intervention may be diminished

– Misunderstandings may arise due to lack of non-verbal clues

 The most widely used techniques and programs

– Cyber therapy through virtual reality

– Telerehabilitation, via video assistance

– Telemonitoring in chronic and insidious disease disorders,

– Self-applied programs and web-based tests

– Hypnosis would be another type of therapy that would yield good results through videoconferencing.

Finally, it should be noted that Telepsychology is usually confused with online psychology.

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