Face-to-Face Video Therapy

Arizona — Therapy Now Comes to You

I am very excited to announce that I am making therapy accessible, convenient and free from the restrictions that insurance companies often impose on treatment.  You can receive therapy for trauma, depression, anxiety, loss, change and regular life issues from the privacy and comfort of your own home…using any device including a laptop or desktop computer, any tablet or phone.  No driving, no transportation time and no hassle.

I am now providing mental health services solely via online counseling or, what is often called “telebehavioralhealth.”  What does this mean?  It means we can seamlessly schedule, have a session and take care of payment from one online platform.  Your personal and secure client portal allows us to communicate privately and provides an easy to use way to connect through the online video.

I have been doing the online therapy for a while now and I, and my clients, have found that, once you’ve tried it, you forget you’re online and it feels real and just as intimate as being in person.  I have successfully conducted EMDR therapy, Flash Technique and other therapies using this online venue.

OK…I have been in practice for over 20 years and, truthfully, I never thought online sessions would come close to the experience of an in-person experience…and, of course, there are differences.  However, I’ve come around!  I am the first to admit that it’s notcompletely the same but it does work well and the research to-date has shown that telehealth has excellent outcomes, comparable to work done in-person.

This is on the leading edge for medical and mental health around the country.  And I’m pleased to bring this to you.

Please note that I can only see clients in the state where I am licensed and that means that I can only work with people in Arizona.  And…there may some situations that are not well-situated for online work.  If interested, give me a call or send an email and let’s see if this will work for you.  As always, I offer a ½ hour consultation at no charge. This time is not for doing therapy, per se, but an opportunity to meet with me to see if it feels right and to see if online therapy is right for you.

For more information on online counseling/therapy, see below:

What exactly is online therapy?

With the advent of innovations in technology, you can experience the same benefits of in-person therapy on secure, easy to use, high-quality internet platforms.  Working online allows you to work out sensitive issues and process feelings with a trained therapist in a respectful, accepting and confidential environment. It can be especially helpful to those who might find it difficult to come for face-to-face appointments on account of their location, work, lifestyle or other practical or personal reasons.

How Does It Work?

While there are multiple ways that counseling can take place online, I work primarily with face-to-face video conferencing and, on occasion, telephone sessions.  Email, exchanged through the secure portal, may be used in the service of supplementing therapy; however, it is not used as the primary source of our work together.

Please note: There are services that offer counseling through email and text communication.  I find those acceptable for basic communication such as making/changing appointments and brief questions (or, as mentioned above, if assigned as part of homework); however, I do not find email and text as the best ways to truly create or nurture the therapeutic relationship.  There are too many opportunities for misunderstandings and too few opportunities for truly hearing, validating, challenging and supporting my clients into the lives they are seeking.

How do I find the right therapist?

Research has consistently shown that the relationship between client and therapist has the greatest influenceon whether counseling will work and in getting the results that you want….sometimes even more so than what the therapist does…though that, of course, is vital as well! I offer a 30 minute consultation, at no charge, to see if it feels right for you and to see ifwe will be able to work together successfully before you book any sessions. Contact me here.  I’ll make sure that our sessions are tailored to meet your needs, your preferences, your personality and your goals.

What About Security? What Platforms Would We Use?

The security and confidentiality of our connection is paramount for online sessions with me. At this time, I am using a platform called Theranest that offers HIPPA compliant, end-to-end encryption, video services for online therapy and all internal communications.

Use of Theranest is easy.  You will need to create a secure online profile which will allow for simple online access, secure email communication and a centralized place for documents, payments, etc.

While Theranest is pretty simple to use, I also recognize that not everyone is as computer-savvy as they’d like to be.  I offer a preliminary telephone meeting to help in getting set up, as needed. Theranest also has 24/7 support for clients for help in set-up or if problems arise in any area of use.

Is Online Work Suitable For Everyone?

While online therapy is “cutting-edge” in counseling/therapy services, it is also new to most people seeking therapy.  There are concerns about the technology but the biggest concern I hear is the fear that the relationship with the therapist won’t feel as close or personal.  Those are legitimate concerns, all of which I have confronted as well.  My experience to date, and the increasing body of research that supports it, has laid most of my concerns to rest.

Therapy online IS different from face-to-face…no arguments there. However, many relationships have been conducted and maintained by phone and video conferencing…and there is no reason that a therapeutic relationship cannot be as rich and satisfying as the others.

There are several practical considerations regarding online therapy:

  • Do you have access to a reliable internet connection?
  • Do you have a device that can provide a good size screen, a tablet at least, a laptop or desktop at most (though I have heard of some who have used a television screen!). A telephone will work but is not recommended as it is quite small and can diminish the experience.
  • For desktops: be sure you have a camera and a microphone.  Some have found they have no mic and they are hard to find at a local business store. 
  • Can you find a private and quiet place to have a session?
  • Can you close or lock a door to prevent interruptions (meaning significant other, kids, coworkers, roommates)?
  • Can you turn off distractions (including app notifications, TVs, work on the desk, etc)?

While you are in your home or area, I would request no eating or smoking during a session…can you not eat or smoke for that hour? Either can be a distraction and, in some cases, using your “drug of choice” to cover what you came to therapy to confront.

If the answer to any of these is NO, then this may not be right for you.  But, please, let’s talk and look for solutions.

Online therapy may not be the most suitable form of support for everyone, particularly those in crisis, individuals presenting a high-level of risk, or those with high levels of dissociation.  Contact me for an assessment to see if this is right for you.

How long and how often are sessions?

Sessions generally last 55-60 minutes (with a credit card on file, more time is available for the session and less for payment activity).  I usually recommend once a week, at least to start; however, I work with each individual to find the right balance of therapeutic, availability and financial considerations.

In some situations more than once a week may be indicated.  I also offer a more intensive therapy where more than one session would be scheduled, often shortening the duration of therapy.  Contact me for more information regarding intensive therapy.

Payments

Payments can be made via several method:

  • Credit/Debit card on file – Your credit card can be held on file in the secure portal. At the completion of each session, the card will be charged. At the completion of therapy, the card info will be deleted.
  • Credit/Debit card not on file – You can provide your credit card at each session. Note that 5 minutes will be taken out of session time to complete this transaction.
  • PayPal – payments can be sent to ssugarlcsw@gmail.com
  • Zelle – payments can be sent to ssugarlcsw@gmail.com

Contact Us

Ask a question or book an appointment below.

(602) 995-3637

4600 E. Shea Blvd Suite 200 Phoenix, AZ 85028

info@susansugar.com