In the world of teletherapy you will hear the word “platform” a lot but what is it?
A platform simply refers to the software used to perform teletherapy. A platform is a web-based program that provides the ability of video conferencing and much more. Instead of sitting at a table with your client you are using the platform as you therapy space. Examples include Zoom, Go To Meeting, Theraplatform and Blink Session. Most if not all platforms allow you the ability to schedule sessions in advance, use a whiteboard, use drawing tools and share your screen.
Why are these basic features important?
1) Scheduling: You want to be able to schedule multiple sessions as well as recurring sessions. This will save you time because you won’t have to schedule sessions every day in a calendar and it will help you with planning. By scheduling sessions in advance, you will be able to share recurring invites/schedule with your clients.
2) Drawing Tools: We often use crayons and pencils when working with our clients. Virtual drawing tools allow us the ability to continue using pencils and crayons but virtually. Many platforms have features that allow you to draw, circle, highlight and change pen color.
3) Whiteboard: The whiteboard tool is awesome! Think of it as a virtual piece of paper that you can use for writing, drawing, circling, highlight, etc. A virtual whiteboard is an interactive and engaging tool that every teletherapist should have access to.
4) Screen Sharing: Do you use worksheets, flashcards and pictures in your therapy session? For most of us, the answer is, YES! With screen sharing, you can pull up a document on your computer and show your client the document on your screen. You can also share short video clips. Once you’ve shared your screen, you and your client can type on the document, highlight, circle, etc.
Some platforms include added features such as data storage, trial scoring, note writing during therapy sessions and client billing features. Prices vary greatly and you guessed it… the more features offered, the more money you will pay.
If you are just starting out, I recommend using a video conferencing platform that won’t break the bank and has the basic features I outlined above. You can use secure and inexpensive data storage services and email such as Google Suite (only $10 a month) in addition to your therapy platform.
What about internet speed? Do I have to have super fast internet when doing teletherapy? Platforms often list internet speed requirements on their website. To learn about internet speed, check out our article here.