Online Counseling

Online Counseling from anywhere in Arkansas or Texas.

Real help for real people without the distance limitation.

Meet John and Lynn*.
(*composite couple)

Living in Evening Shade, Arkansas, their population is 400ish and about 2 hours from my office.

The nearest large town is Jonesboro, a little over an hour away.

Searching Google for a local couple’s specialist, my name pops up and they call.

They’re desperate.

They both work Monday through Friday. A day off is hard to come by, but they have some flexibility during the day.

I hear a little of their story; I believe I can help them.

Do they have high-speed Internet? Yes.

Are they comfortable using a computer and do they have an okay computer? Yes.

For me, it makes sense to offer them online counseling.

They say they’re interested, so we talk more about it.

We test the HIPAA compliant software. It works!

John and Lynn decide to come in for the first appointments on a Saturday. It is unusual for me to see clients on a Saturday, but I make an exception to help them get started with me.

The Saturday appointments went well, and they decided to work with me over a secure video and audio connection.

They’ve had ten plus sessions over video teleconferencing.

There have been a few glitches, but none that were not resolved in those moments.

Both Jack and Jill tell me they’re doing much better, and the sessions are helping.
I feel good about the work I’m doing with them, and they do, too.

Online Counseling has lots of prerequisites and rules…

…many more than visiting a counselor in their office.

I won’t bore you with the requirements. When I feel you may be a good candidate and you agree, I’ll explain more and ask lots of preliminary questions.

Here are some of the guidelines I must follow:

  • Make sure the connection is HIPAA Compliant on both sides
  • Confirm I have reliable emergency contact information for your nearest local Fire and Police Departments, hospital and relative or friend.
  • Establish that your Internet and computer equipment can sustain a good connection. It doesn’t take much in the way of hardware, but I must verify.
  • Online counseling is not for every situation. There are cases where only in-office will do.

Frequently Asked Online Counseling Questions

What kind of online counseling methods are there, and do you offer them all?
  • Audio/video counseling: Yes, this is my preferred method for online counseling.
  • Telephone: Only when a client is in an emergency-like crisis. I generally do not schedule telephone counseling sessions.
  • Texting: Yes, I can do counseling via HIPAA Secure Messaging from inside my client portal. Do not send me confidential client information via cell phone as it is not HIPAA secure. Secure Messaging is accessible from an Internet-connected computer you trust or the SimplePractice app on your smartphone.
  • Email: No, I prefer the Secure Messaging app inside my portal.
Online Counseling Fee:
  • Audio/video counseling fee is the same as my in-office fee.
  • Texting within the portal is a little trickier. Clients pay for the first hour in advance then time is determined by the number of words exchanged between us.
What programs do you use for audio/video HIPAA Compliant counseling?
  • I have two choices. We can use the video conferencing feature within my portal or…
  • Google Meet which is HIPAA Compliant.
Why only with people in Arkansas or Texas?
  • State Board requirements dictate that I am only authorized to offer counseling where I am specially authorized to do so. If the client is physically in Arkansas or Texas, I can provide them online counseling. If a Texas or Arkansas client is on vacation or business out-of-state, I must wait until they return to their home state. If you’ve read this far, this probably sounds crazy. There are good reasons for the rules.
  • Counseling laws vary widely across the United States. While a pastor or a coach is unregulated, Arkansas licensed counselors are required to possess specialization in Technology-Assisted Counseling (which I do). The TAC Specialization requires different training, an oral examination before the Arkansas Board of Counseling Examiners, and hours of TAC continuing education.
  • As for Texas? One of my clients moved to Texas and wanted to continue with me. Texas and Arkansas do not have reciprocal counseling agreements; this means neither Arkansas nor Texas automatically recognizes the Board licensure of the other state. So, to serve my client, I completed the Texas Licensure process.

Online counseling seems interesting. What do I do now?

Call me to set up a free one-hour consult, (501) 920-6096. Our call may not take that long, but if you are a good candidate, it probably will run well over 30 minutes.