The field of psychology has witnessed a significant transformation in recent years, thanks to advancements in technology and changes in healthcare regulations. One of the most notable changes has been the widespread adoption of telehealth services. However, until July 1st 2023, Psychologists were only allowed to practice in their state of licensure. Now thanks to new legislation called PsyPact, certain approved psychologists can offer their expertise across state lines. There are currently 39 participating states with several more being added over the next few years. You can find the updated list here to see if your state is included https://psypact.org/mpage/psypactmap. This shift has brought numerous benefits, both for mental health professionals and the individuals seeking their help.
Some advantages of psychologists practicing telehealth across state lines include:
1. Increased Access to Mental Healthcare
Perhaps the most significant advantage of psychologists practicing telehealth across state lines is the increased access to mental healthcare. In many parts of the world, there is a shortage of mental health professionals, particularly in rural or underserved areas. Telehealth breaks down geographical barriers, allowing individuals to access therapy and counseling services with providers who specialize in their area of need regardless of their physical location.
2. Enhanced Convenience for Patients
Telehealth offers unparalleled convenience for patients. Traditional face-to-face therapy often involves long commutes, time off work/school, and logistical challenges. With telehealth, individuals can access therapy from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the stress of travel and reducing the time and cost associated with in-person visits. This convenience can encourage more people to seek the help they need.
3. Increased Continuity of Care
Telehealth allows for more consistent and continuous care for patients. When individuals move or travel across state lines, they can continue working with the same psychologist without interruption. This continuity is crucial, especially for individuals dealing with chronic mental health conditions or those in long-term therapy. Being able to remain with the same provider eliminates the need to start over with a new psychologist and the struggle of finding someone who is a good fit.
4. Reduction in Stigma
For some, the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment can be a significant barrier to care. Telehealth provides a level of privacy and anonymity that can make it easier for people to reach out for help. They can engage in therapy without the fear of running into someone they know at a psychologist’s office, making it a less intimidating option.
5. Expanding the Pool of Available Psychologists
By allowing psychologists to practice across state lines, the pool of available mental health professionals expands. This can help reduce wait times for appointments, allowing individuals to access care when they need it most. It also provides patients with a broader range of specialists to choose from, increasing the likelihood of finding a psychologist who specializes in their specific needs.
6. Better Outcomes through Consistency
Consistency in therapy is crucial for positive outcomes. With telehealth, patients are more likely to attend regular appointments because it’s more convenient. This regularity can lead to more effective treatment, as psychologists can monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.
Overall, the practice of telehealth across state lines has brought about numerous benefits for psychologists and their patients alike. The addition of PsyPact to allow telehealth across state lines, is huge step in improving access to mental health care. PsyPact has improved the continuity of care. As technology continues to advance and healthcare regulations adapt, we can expect telehealth to play an increasingly vital role in the field of psychology, ultimately improving mental health outcomes for countless individuals across the nation.
Dr. Angela Steranko is now PsyPact certified and can practice teletherapy in any of the participating states. Dr. Steranko is a licensed clinical psychologist who is able to provide continuity of care for high schoolers transitioning to college and offer specialty pediatric services to families in need regardless of their physical residence. https://funpsy.com/angela-steranko/