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Altru Health

Understanding Telehealth Counselling: How It Works

Understanding Telehealth Counselling: How It Works

Let’s talk about mental health access. In times of crisis, immediate support is crucial. Unfortunately, for many individuals, the conventional process often involves several challenges:

  • distance and travel time,

  • extended waits for an appointment,

  • an overwhelming multi-step process,

  • and crowded environments

Enter a game-changer: Telehealth Counselling. Yes, you can certainly have the support you need without stepping foot in a mental health clinic. Telehealth brings therapy directly to you, erasing everything that makes getting medical care so stressful.

Altru Health believes that prioritising a streamlined connection to accessible GPs without leaving one’s home is key to addressing Australia’s rising mental health concerns.

In this blog, we’ll cover the definition and benefits of Telehealth Counselling and how it works. And as a bonus, an infographic that breaks down the step-by-step process of a typical session here at Altru Health.

Defining Telehealth Counselling

Telehealth Counselling is a virtual approach to therapy. It leverages technology to connect individuals and mental health professionals. This innovative approach eliminates barriers and provides individuals access to professional counselling services wherever they are in the world.

Does Telehealth Counselling Really Help?

It’s natural for people to question the effectiveness of modern healthcare solutions. The post-pandemic world has introduced a new era of medical care with the rise of telehealth, and people are asking, “Does telehealth counselling really help?” 

Telehealth counselling offers a ton of benefits aside from providing access to individuals looking to start their mental health and wellness journey. Let’s go through them one by one:

The Benefits of Telehealth Counselling

Accessibility

Telehealth Counselling transcends geographic constraints, making mental health support accessible to individuals in remote areas or those facing mobility challenges.

Convenience

The convenience factor cannot be overstated. Clients with busy schedules can set virtual appointments without the need to commute, saving time and reducing potential stress associated with traditional in-person appointments.

Privacy and Comfort

Telehealth counselling provides a confidential and comfortable setting for individuals to share their thoughts and feelings. Trust lies in open communication and a space to express oneself, and this is one unique advantage you can get with telehealth.

Cost-Effective

With reduced travel expenses, telehealth counselling can be a more cost-effective option for many individuals requiring professional mental health care.

Continuity

Consistency is crucial in mental health care. telehealth counselling ensures that individuals can maintain regular sessions, even during unforeseen circumstances or disruptions, promoting continuity in their therapeutic journey.

How Telehealth Counselling Works:

Appointment Scheduling

Patients can schedule their counselling session at their convenience. The flexibility in choosing a time that fits well with their weekly routine encourages individuals to prioritise their mental well-being more.

Virtual Connection

During the scheduled session, clients and mental health professionals connect virtually through video conferencing. This virtual connection aims to replicate the face-to-face interactions of typical in-person counselling.

Therapeutic Interaction

The magic of Telehealth Counselling lies in the therapeutic interaction between the client and the mental health professional. This occurs through active listening, empathy, and evidence-based interventions. What happens as a result? The individual moves forward in their journey to self-discovery and overall mental wellness.

Digital Tools and Resources

Telehealth platforms may incorporate additional digital tools and resources to enhance the counselling experience. These can include secure messaging for patient-mental health professional communication, progress tracking, and access to educational materials.

To help you absorb and understand how a telehealth counselling session works at Altru Health, here’s an infographic:

Mental health is now made more accessible than ever, which can pave the way to finally breaking the harmful stigmas around it. It’s now as easy as hopping on a zoom call with one of our telehealth counselling providers. We’ll be happy to guide you through your mental wellness journey every step of the way.

Transforming Lives: The Power of Telehealth Counselling at Altru Health

Transforming Lives: The Power of Telehealth Counselling at Altru Health

The need for telehealth counselling and mental wellness is more critical now than ever. In recent years, the world has been knocked over by unprecedented challenges, from global health crises to the strains of fast-paced lifestyles and economic uncertainties. The prevalence of such stressors underscores the urgency of prioritising mental well-being. The solution we offer—telehealth counselling as a lifeline for individuals seeking support, allowing them to address mental health concerns from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

Let’s delve into the core of Altru Health’s business model, exploring the importance of mental health and the transformative impact of telehealth counselling services.

Understanding Mental Health

Mental health is a state of well-being that empowers individuals to cope with life’s stresses, realise their abilities, and contribute meaningfully to society. According to the World Health Organisation, good mental health plays a pivotal role in one’s ability to grow and make informed decisions in life.

Challenges to Mental Health

Life’s challenges can come at the worst possible times, when you are unprepared or physically and mentally incapable of battling them. These stressors can manifest as stress, financial concerns, job insecurity, relationship difficulties, bereavement, or trauma, and can trigger common mental health conditions.

The Rise of Telehealth Counselling

According to a study published by the CDC, telehealth services have witnessed a significant uptick, with a 154% increase in utilisation between 2019 and 2020. This surge is a testament to the growing recognition of the importance of mental health care and the accessibility that telehealth brings to the table.

Convenience Redefined

Altru Health addresses the constant battling of life’s challenges by redefining convenience when it comes to mental health. With Altru Health’s telehealth counselling, individuals can schedule sessions without the hassle of commuting or adhering to rigid appointment times. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed that 86% of clients found telehealth services to be more convenient than traditional in-person sessions.

Tailored Therapeutic Approaches

One size does not fit all, especially when it comes to mental health. Altru Health understands this and employs a diverse range of therapeutic approaches to cater to the unique needs of each individual. From psychoanalytic exploration of repressed thoughts and feelings to cognitive therapy addressing thought patterns, every modality is meticulously designed to provide a customised experience for each patient.

Altru Health’s Key Approaches to Therapy

Altru Health’s commitment to comprehensive mental health care is exemplified through our diverse range of therapeutic approaches:

  • The psychoanalytic approach delves into the exploration and release of repressed thoughts and feelings, offering a deep introspective journey.
  • The psychodynamic approach shifts the focus to the unconscious, acknowledging the influence of hidden aspects on one’s well-being.
  • Behavioural therapy concentrates on acquiring new, positive behaviours, emphasising practical strategies for personal growth.
  • Cognitive therapy addresses thought patterns, recognising the impact of cognition on emotions and behaviours.
  • Humanistic therapy, with its emphasis on achieving potential, empowers individuals to realise their intrinsic worth and capabilities.
  • Altru Health’s integrative approach is particularly noteworthy, seamlessly blending elements from various therapeutic modalities to create a customised and holistic treatment plan.

Altru Health’s diverse therapeutic toolkit reflects our keenness on individualised care, ensuring that clients receive a nuanced approach to addressing unique mental health challenges.

The Human Touch in the Virtual Space

One might wonder, can a virtual platform truly provide the warm, human connection needed for effective counselling? Altru Health seamlessly integrates technology with a human touch, ensuring that clients feel heard and supported. Altru Health’s telehealth model isn’t just about connecting screens; it’s about forging meaningful connections that foster healing.

Breaking Down Stigmas

Despite the growing awareness surrounding mental health, stigmas persist. Telehealth counselling serves as a powerful tool in dismantling these barriers. A survey by Mental Health America found that 67% of individuals seeking telehealth services cited privacy as a significant advantage, allowing them to receive support without fear of judgment.

Altru Health’s commitment to creating a safe and confidential space amplifies the impact of telehealth counselling in fostering an inclusive and stigma-free environment.

Somatic Therapy: Bridging the Mind-Body Connection

Altru Health goes beyond conventional counselling by incorporating somatic therapy into its telehealth services. Somatic therapy recognises the intricate link between the body and mental well-being, emphasising the importance of holistic healing.

Somatic therapy has shown promising results in reducing the symptoms of trauma and improving overall mental health. Altru Health’s inclusion of somatic therapy techniques, such as breathwork and body awareness, further solidifies its commitment to comprehensive well-being.

Empowering Through Education

Beyond the therapy sessions, Altru Health is dedicated to empowering individuals through education. The blog, informative articles, and resource materials available on our website serve as valuable tools for promoting mental health literacy.

Altru Health’s commitment to breaking down barriers, fostering meaningful connections, and incorporating innovative therapeutic approaches positions it as a beacon of hope in the pursuit of mental well-being. The world is constantly changing, but Altru Health stands as a steadfast companion, ready to guide individuals on their journey to wellness anytime and anywhere.

‘Tis the Season for Self-Care: A Holiday Mental Health Guide

‘Tis the Season for Self-Care

The holiday season in Australia is a time of joy and shared moments with loved ones. Spanning from late November through January, this period encapsulates various cultural celebrations that bring people together. But while the holiday season is synonymous with merriment, it also brings forth challenges that can impact mental well-being:

  • The pressure to meet societal expectations,
  • financial strains associated with gift-giving,
  • the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations,
  • and the constant feeling of overwhelm.

Let’s delve into the importance of prioritising mental health during the holidays, shedding light on key statistics and practical strategies to get through the “mental chaos” of this season.

The Festive Paradox: Holiday Mental Health in Numbers

Amidst the glittering decorations and joyful gatherings, there exists a sobering reality: an upsurge in mental health issues during the holiday season. Drawing on data from the HCF Research Foundation, we explore key statistics that show heightened stress and anxiety during the holiday season.

 

These statistics highlight the significant impact of the holiday season on the mental well-being of Australians—the pressure to create a perfect holiday experience, compounded by the challenges of the preceding year.

Common Holiday Stressors & Mental Health Challenges

Aside from the pressure of compensating for a bad year, there are many other factors that contribute to seasonal stress.

Let’s unravel them one by one…

Social Expectations & Family Dynamics

The joyous gatherings and familial reunions that hallmark the holiday season can also reintroduce a complex web of social expectations and family dynamics. The pressure to create picture-perfect celebrations, coupled with navigating interpersonal relationships, can contribute to heightened stress and anxiety.

Financial Pressures

As the season of giving unfolds, the tradition of gift-giving can sometimes translate into financial strain. The desire to provide memorable experiences through meaningful presents can clash with budgetary constraints, which creates a source of stress for many.

Increased Workload & Time Constraints

The hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, coupled with year-end work commitments, often lead to an increased workload and time constraints. Balancing professional responsibilities with personal celebrations can be overwhelming, affecting mental well-being.

Social Media

The pervasive influence of social media can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and comparison, as individuals may perceive others’ holiday experiences better than their own. With almost everyone on social media, this being a major holiday stressor comes as no surprise.

Constant Feelings of Overwhelm

The holidays can quickly become overwhelming for a lot of people—whether it’s the bright lights and decorations or just everyone in festive spirits. It can be difficult for introverted and socially anxious people to find their way through constant feelings of overwhelm. Imagine being afraid of crowds and you’re in the middle of an intense Christmas rush.

Loneliness

While the holidays are typically associated with togetherness, many individuals may experience feelings of loneliness due to various reasons—being far away from loved ones, estrangement, or the absence of a supportive social network. Comparing one’s isolation to others gleefully celebrating with family and friends can worsen the feeling.

Excessive Drinking

Holiday festivities often involve alcohol. This can lead to excessive drinking as a coping mechanism or a way to navigate social situations, contributing to both physical and mental health challenges.

Mindful Celebrations: Strategies for Mental Wellness

The holiday season, while joyous, can be accompanied by a lot of stress and pressure to conform. Instead of trying to make the holidays picture-perfect, it’s time we shift our focus to mindful celebrations that involve prioritising mental wellness and fostering a balanced and fulfilling experience all-in-all.

Here are practical strategies for managing stress and encouraging self-care this coming holidays:

Setting Realistic Expectations

Acknowledge that perfection is not attainable, and it’s okay to embrace imperfections. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others, understanding that the essence of the holiday season lies in connection, shared experiences, and for some who have worked their entire year off, just a good night’s sleep, rather than flawless execution.

Budgeting & Financial Planning

Establish a realistic holiday budget to alleviate financial stress. Consider thoughtful and meaningful gifts that align with your budget. Set up a wish list or engage in open conversations with family and friends about gift expectations to collectively ease financial pressures.

Time Management & Prioritisation

Create a schedule that balances festive activities with personal time. Prioritise events and commitments based on their significance, allowing for moments of rest and relaxation. Effective time management contributes to a more enjoyable and stress-free holiday experience.

Mindfulness & Relaxation Techniques

Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Take moments to breathe deeply and engage in meditation. These techniques can help ground you in the present moment and give you a chance to reflect on and be grateful for the year that went.

Importance of Adequate Sleep

Ensure sufficient and restful sleep during the holiday season. Lack of sleep can exacerbate stress and diminish overall well-being. Establish a relaxing pre-sleep routine, limit screen time before bedtime, and create a conducive sleep environment for a rejuvenating night’s rest.

By incorporating these mindful strategies into your holiday celebrations, you can proactively address stressors and prioritise mental wellness. These practices not only contribute to a more enjoyable holiday season but also foster a foundation for long-term well-being beyond the festivities.

The Role of Social Connections

One’s emotional resilience during the festive season lies in the warmth of shared moments, laughter, and support from loved ones. Moreover, acknowledging the importance of social connections can contribute to a healthier and more joyful holiday experience. Use the holiday season as an opportunity to strengthen familial connections. Reach out to friends and schedule mini celebrations to reconnect. And if holiday stressors become too much of an obstacle, seek assistance from mental health professionals.

Highlighting the Role of Telehealth:

The advent of telehealth has revolutionised the accessibility of mental health support, offering a lifeline to individuals seeking assistance during the holidays and beyond. Telehealth platforms provide a convenient and confidential avenue for connecting with mental health professionals, eliminating geographical barriers, and promoting inclusivity.

Here are key aspects highlighting the role of telehealth:

Accessible Anytime, Anywhere

Telehealth lets you access mental health services from the comfort of your own home. This accessibility is especially helpful during the holiday season, where time constraints and logistics are an issue.

Confidential & Supportive Environment

Telehealth consultations offer a private and secure environment for individuals to discuss their mental health concerns. This level of confidentiality is essential, particularly during periods of heightened anxiety, such as the holiday season.

Flexible & Timely Support

The flexibility of telehealth services allows for timely support, helping individuals address concerns as needed. This adaptability aligns with the unpredictability of holiday stressors, offering a responsive and tailored approach to mental health care.

So there you have it — a comprehensive guide to minding your mental health in this season of cheer. May the holidays be adorned not only with twinkling lights and festive spirits but also with kindness and perhaps a deep sense of inner peace.

Here’s to a joyful and mentally thriving holiday season for all!

Counselling in the digital age

Counselling in the digital age

Seeking counselling is a big decision for most people. It can be hard to recognise that you need help. And once you are willing to see a counsellor, you have to find the right one – someone with the right skills, in the right location and with availability that matches your schedule.

Booking a telehealth appointment with a counsellor can help you overcome many of those barriers. Let’s take a look.

What is counselling?

Counselling is a form of talk therapy led by a trained mental health professional.

Counsellors help you to understand what’s going on in your life and explore new ways of thinking, relating and moving forward. They give you a safe place to explore your thoughts, feelings, reactions or underlying beliefs about yourself and the world around you.

A counsellor could help you:

    • Express painful feelings or experiences
    • Change self-sabotaging habits
    • Learn how to accept yourself
    • See situations from a new perspective
    • Learn how to manage conflict well
    • Build healthier relationships
  • Relieve symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • Gain a stronger sense of identity and purpose.

Traditionally, counselling has taken place in the counsellor’s office – usually a nice room with a comfortable sofa, a vase of flowers and a box of tissues. But the era of telehealth has changed all that.

What is telehealth?

Telehealth means having a consultation with a healthcare provider by phone or video call. It’s been with us for a while but it shot to prominence in the early days of the pandemic when social distancing was vital.

Telehealth is ideally suited to counselling. After all this is ‘talk therapy’ where there’s no need for a physical examination or hands-on treatment.

What are the benefits of telehealth counselling?

Telehealth offers some key benefits that make it an ideal choice for many patients.

Improved access

Many, many Australians are in need of mental health care, resulting in long waiting lists. The Australian Psychological Society reports that now 1 in 3 psychologists has closed their books to new clients (before the pandemic it was only 1 in 100).

You may have tried to get in to see a local psychologist or counsellor and been told to come back in a few months. With telehealth, you can often get help much sooner because you’re not limited by geography.

A wider choice of providers

To attend a counselling appointment in person, you have to choose a counsellor in your local area.

Telehealth gives you a much wider choice of providers. You can select a counsellor who’s right for you, not simply one who’s nearby.Greater convenience

Seeing a counsellor in person takes time. The appointment itself might last an hour but the travel time there and back could easily double the time commitment. Then there’s the cost (and hassle!) of parking.

Depending on your other commitments, you may need to negotiate time off work or find someone to look after the kids. Often you’re rushing out the door just to get to your appointment on time.

You can sidestep all that with telehealth. You choose a location that suits you – all you need is some privacy and a phone or internet connection.

Continuity of care

Continuity of care is important. To open up about some of the deeper issues in your life, you need to trust your counsellor. And trust is earned over time. Regular appointments also help to keep you on track and making progress.

When there’s a lot of planning and hassle involved in getting to your counselling appointment, you’ll tend to start postponing sessions. It’s understandable – there’s only so much you can squeeze into the week.

Telehealth makes continuity of care easier. You can keep seeing your counsellor even when you:

  • Move to a new location
  • Are away on business
  • Don’t feel well enough to attend an in-person appointment
  • Are having a crazily busy week.

Removing stigma

Our society is becoming more understanding of mental health conditions but there can still be a sense of stigma attached. And that can make it difficult to walk into a building that’s clearly a counselling centre.

Telehealth is more private. It’s simply another phone call or another Zoom meeting. Everyone has those!

Come to Altru Health

If you’d like to talk through some of your struggles, we’d love to listen.

Altru Health is a 100% telehealth service that provides a safe space for you to explore your true self.

We deliver professional counselling alongside movement therapies and holistic wellness practices that help to integrate your body and mind. We help you nurture self-compassion and learn to accept yourself for the unique and wonderful person you are.

 

Trauma counselling and somatic practices

Girl With Headphones On

When you’ve been through a frightening or distressing situation, you may experience a particular type of psychological harm known as trauma – and that can affect your ability to function normally.

What is trauma?

Traumatic events are ones where you feel under serious threat. They may include:

  • Violence – armed robbery, war, terrorism
  • Natural disasters – bushfires, earthquakes, floods
  • Serious accidents
  • Life-threatening illness or injury
  • Personal trauma – domestic violence, child abuse, rape
  • Traumatic grief – suicide or other sudden death of a loved one
  • Second-hand trauma – when someone you care about is involved in a traumatic event.

What are the symptoms of trauma?

Trauma symptoms can affect your body, mind, behaviour or feelings.

Trauma symptoms
Physical Cognitive Behavioural Emotional
  • On high alert all the time
  • Easily startled
  • Exhaustion
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Disturbing memories and images of the event
  • Nightmares
  • Poor concentration
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Avoiding places or activities that remind you of what happened
  • Withdrawal and social isolation
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Fear
  • Numbness
  • Detachment
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic

 

No two people respond the same way to a traumatic situation. Some people find that their symptoms gradually subside over a few weeks while others find that their life is disrupted for much longer.

For some people, though, trauma may trigger more serious conditions such as

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety conditions
  • A reliance on alcohol or other drugs.

Your response is influenced by many different factors including the event itself, your personality and coping mechanisms, your support system and other sources of stress in your life.

What is somatic therapy and how can it help trauma recovery?

‘Soma’ is a Greek word for the body, as distinct from the psyche (the mind).

The mind and body are closely connected. Let’s say you have some pent-up anger as a result of your trauma. That’s probably seeping out into many aspects of your life, affecting your relationships or job security. Teaching you some anger management skills could help – but only a little bit. You need support to release the pent-up anger so you can move forward.

Traditional approaches such as counselling and psychological therapy focus on the mind. You’re encouraged to talk, to become aware of disturbing thoughts, to identify patterns of behaviour and to work on changing them.

In contrast, somatic therapy starts with the body. You’re encouraged to become aware of your body’s sensations and learn to feel safe in it. From there, you can start to explore your feelings, thoughts and memories.

The idea is to bring the mind and body together using a range of therapeutic approaches such as:

  • Body awareness: Tuning into your body and identifying areas of tension, discomfort or numbness.
  • Releasing tension: Through breathwork, gentle movement or body-based mindfulness techniques
  • Resourcing: Identifying what makes you feel calm and safe, such as certain people or places
  • Pendulation: Guiding you from a relaxed state to feelings similar to the ones you experienced in your trauma then helping you relax again
  • Titration: Guiding you through a traumatic memory, noting the accompanying physical sensations and addressing them right there.

There are many other tools, including acupressure, hypnosis or even dance.

How does somatic therapy help trauma survivors?

Somatic therapy can give you a sense of agency in your healing process and help you regain a feeling of control over your body and emotions.

This is significant since trauma often involves situations where you’ve been deprived of control. Recovering that can be quite empowering.

As already noted, the mind and body are intertwined. A comprehensive trauma recovery plan needs to address both aspects.

Somatic therapy is a body-based treatment that aims to help you release pent-up emotions that are keeping you ‘stuck’. It complements mind-based therapies like counselling and meditation.

How can Altru Health help?

At Altru Health, we focus on a holistic approach to recovery. Our practice incorporates counselling, somatic therapy and wellness practices  such as yoga.

Best of all, we provide it all through telehealth. It’s easy and accessible, saving you the trouble of trekking across town to your appointments. It also means you can access our services no matter where you are.

We can’t change what’s happened to you. But we can help you change what comes next and help you move forward with confidence in who you are.

 

References

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Altru Health – A new era of well-being at your fingertips

A new era of well-being at your fingertips

A new Australia-wide counselling and wellness service for young adults aged 16-30 (ish!)

Young adulthood can be a hard time for many people as they form their identity, find their way in the world, form relationships and handle increasing responsibilities in a fast-paced and complex world.

It’s not surprising that 75% of all lifetime cases of anxiety, mood, impulse-control, and substance use disorders start by the age of 24.

At Altru Health, we understand that seeking support can be a daunting process, and inaccessible for many. That’s where we come in – to partner with you on your unique journey to overall wellness. Altru Health provides conveniently accessible telehealth services with experienced professionals from the comfort of your own space, offering a supportive and holistic approach to counselling and wellness services that embrace the whole person – body, mind and soul.

Altru Health offers a suite of therapies with an emphasis on the inter-relationship between the body and the mind. Services include:

  • Trauma-informed psychology and counselling, including somatic therapy
  • Body and mind wellness – breathwork, yoga and guided meditation
  • Online resources to help people continue their journey.

Our goal is to support young people who are:

  • Dealing with depression and anxiety,
  • Seeking a non-judgemental space to explore identity issues relating to body image, gender or sexuality
  • Recovering from trauma.

When young people receive the support they need, they’re better able to establish a strong foundation for their adult lives. Altru Health considers it a privilege to be part of this process.

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