While many psychologists and patients have adopted videoconferencing for psychological treatment, that option is not viable for everyone because of technology and access limitations or preference concerns. Phone-only or audio-only therapy has solid evidence supporting its effectiveness and should be considered a viable option for care. However, audio-only therapy does have some unique aspects for psychologists and patients to consider.
After considering the issues outlined in the technology checklist for telepsychological services, the psychologist also needs to conduct a thorough informed consent, consider relevant ethical/legal issues for telemental health, and determine that an audio-only treatment is appropriate for this patient. The psychologist will want to conduct a risk-benefit assessment for each potential client that addresses the individual’s particular treatment needs and considerations when engaging in audio-only behavioral telehealth.
Just as with other telemental health, the psychologist will need a plan for managing emergencies as well as an idea of the kinds of issues that might indicate audio-only therapy is not working for a particular individual.
Here are some tips for providing audio-only services.