Meet Michelle Mounts, a new therapist at Forward Wellness, offering teletherapy.

My name is Michelle Mounts, and I’m a new clinician at Forward Wellness. I am a PA-licensed LSW, and I also have a BC-TMH (those letters stand for Board Certified-TeleMental Health provider). I want to take a moment to describe to you what I will be offering at Forward Wellness and, I hope, answer questions you have about the service.

I will be offering teletherapy to clients throughout Pennsylvania. You might have heard of teletherapy before, called by a different name. There are about forty terms floating around for “teletherapy”—from “distance counseling” to “video therapy” to “TeleMental Health”—and they all mean the same thing: the use of technology to deliver traditional mental health services. I am board-certified in nationally established best practices for teletherapy, and I follow guidelines learned in a rigorous training program.

If you are my client, all of our sessions will take place via video calls much like Skype or FaceTime calls, except we will be using a platform that is HIPAA-secure. All you need is your computer, tablet, or mobile phone and an internet connection. You will be in a space that is private and quiet—usually your home, or perhaps your workplace—and I will be in my home office. During our sessions, we must both be located in Pennsylvania (but there are options for us if you will be out-of-state for a little while).

I’m hoping that teletherapy will help you find a way to attend to your mental health without increasing your stress or complicating your schedule. I specialize in women’s issues, treating clients who have experienced infertility, pregnancy loss, perinatal loss and grief, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), and “sandwich generation” issues (problems experienced by adults who are “sandwiched” between caring for their children and their aging parents). Anxiety, depression, trauma, and feelings of “stuckness” are also reasons to give me a call.

I know that even in the best of circumstances, making it to a regular therapy appointment can be difficult. But it is especially difficult if you are at home taking care of an infant, young children, and/or your aging parents. It can be stressful to make it to the therapist’s office if you are trying to manage long hours at work. Maybe travel costs are prohibitive or you just don’t have the time to navigate road traffic. Maybe you struggle with chronic pain or lack of mobility. Maybe you are saddled with fertility appointments and it is difficult to squeeze in a therapy appointment, too. You might be struggling with depression and anxiety to an extent that you would rather engage in a session from the comfort of your home, at this point. Whatever your reason, as a teletherapy client, you will be participating in a telehealth/telemedicine trend that is here to stay and is only going to grow larger in the years to come.

Perhaps one of the most significant factors contributing to the rise of teletherapy in the U.S. is the lack of access to mental health services in most of our country. Some 60 million people seeking mental health services in the United States are either unable to find any psychotherapists in their area or are unable to find clinicians within driving distance who are trained in the specific treatment that they need.

Decades of research has shown that teletherapy is just as effective as in-person therapy and there are very few conditions that would prohibit a practitioner from treating a client via technology. If you are extremely uncomfortable using technology, teletherapy might not be for you. Otherwise, if you are comfortable using a mobile phone or computer, all you really need to know how to do is click on a link or an app.

When it comes to lighting, sound, camera position, and internet connection, I will have some quick tips for you. This is the major difference between in-person therapy and online therapy: Questions and adjustments concerning how well we can see and hear each other will become routine for us, particularly during the first few sessions, but most concerns can be easily addressed.

I hope this blog post has answered some of your questions about teletherapy. I’m excited to begin offering the service and hope that it will make it easier for you to get the mental health care that you need.

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510 Third Avenue, Fifth Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

6507 Wilkins Ave, #108
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
(412) 660-6100

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