Telepsychology: Vocabulary

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telepsychology_vocabularyTechnology allows clinicians to interact with patients from different locations. As psychotherapy relies on conversation between the clinician and the patient, therapy online is an alternative to an office visit. Today we explain to you some of the vocabulary attached to telepsychology.

E-health: refers to health services through any electronic media. Nowadays internet is the main frame of e-health, but telephone and WhatsAppp are also used. E-health must be provided by a clinician.

ITV communication is the interaction of two o more individuals through electronic media in real time. It could be from a clinician to a patient or between clinicians sharing information in real time.

Telemedicine is the use of ITV to provide medical care. In child telemedicine both parents and children are treated as patients. Telemedicine is delivered in person.

Telepsychology is a specific term for the aplication of online psychology.

The first use of telemedicine was in the 1950s. In the University of Nebraska a closed-circuit television system was used in psychiatry.

Original article:  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,

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The Effectiveness of Telemental Health

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Telepsychology is the use of the web technology to provide mental health assessment and treatment at a distance. Its reliability for children and adolescents has been done with the Schedule for the Assessment of Depression and Schizophrenia (K-SADS) and the DIS (DISC), and new studies support the evidence that telepsychology has his own effectiveness (Richardson, Frueh, Grubaugh, Egede, & Elhai, 2009). On the other hand, an effort has been done in recent years in order to systematize and regulate this growing field, and already has its regulations for a good practice (Myers et. al, 2008; American Telemedicine Association, ATA, 2013).

Regarding the advantages over face-to-face therapy, Pakyurek, Yellowlees & Hilty (2010) highlight that telepsychology may be better than in-person service for several reasons: 1. Novelty: the interaction patient-psychologist is perceived as more exciting and less threatening; 2. Direction: the patient (like Autism or ADHD) seem to be directed by the technology and the direct consequences of their behavior (throwing a rubber) are not vested directly on the therapist; 3. Distance: some patients feel more confortable and talk more freely with a distance between them and the psychologist; 4. Authenticity of the family interaction: the psychologist can observe the child-parent interaction in a more naturalistic setting, less likely to be observed in face-to-face settings. Telepsychology can be specially useful for some patients, for example those in rural areas, which can have access to health services and good educational resources online, and also for some disorders like ADHD (Palmer et. al, 2010).

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Myers, K., Cain, S., Work Group on Quality Issues, & American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Staff. (2008). Practice parameter for telepsychiatry with children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(12), 1468-1483. doi:10.1097/CHI.0b013e31818b4e13

Pakyurek, M., Yellowlees, P., & Hilty, D. (2010). The Child and Adolescent Telepsychiatry Consultation: Can It Be a More Effective Clinical Process for Certain Patients Than Conventional Practice? Telemedicine and e-Health, 16(3), 289-292. doi:10.1089/tmj.2009.0130

Palmer, N. B., Myers, K. M., Vander Stoep, A., McCarty, C. A., Geyer, J. R., & DeSalvo, A. (2010). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Telemental Health. Current psychiatry reports, 12(5), 409-417. doi:10.1007/s11920-010-0132-8

Richardson, L. K., Frueh, B. C., Grubaugh, A. L., Egede, L., & Elhai, J. D. (2009). Current Directions in Videoconferencing Tele-Mental Health Research. Clinical psychology : a publication of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association, 16(3), 323-338. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2850.2009.01170.x