NEWS AND TOPICS OF INTEREST

Focused Articles

No more posts
after-social-distancing-1280x853.png

an article by
Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW
CEO & Founder

As the much anticipated ‘return to work’ takes hold… my overwhelming concern has been once the pandemic was under control and social distance has been lifted, how would I manage our physical locations, for our clients and the 150 therapists that work for BCS Group.

I not only need to consider everyone’s safety, but also the new ‘norm’ for our practice, many clients and therapists have expressed a strong desire to continue with our tele-health model.

When COVID first forced me to shut down the physical locations, my focus abruptly shifted from assigning rooms to schedule our clients, to providing secure, Live Video services. The upside to this change gave us the ability to extend our hours, care for more clients, and hire more therapist. But also, it gave us the capability to reach out to more remote areas, where clients and therapist that previously may not have been able to connect with us, now could.

As I plan for the opening of locations and develop a real sense of the future balance between in-person and online, I decided the best way to forecast the future was to engage directly with our therapist and clients, to see what their preferences really are.

I was really surprised to learn that most therapists are more interested in the remote model, as are our clients, they are really enjoying tele-mental health; the convenience and flexibility, generally they feel their therapy sessions have been more relaxing from the comfort of their homes, along with not needing to arrange childcare, no more commute or waiting rooms. Overall, online counseling is a lot less stressful.

I think the pandemic helped us all realize that remote care is here to stay.


NP-_-Bed-_-BW-3-of-11-1280x1831-1-1280x659.jpg

Even through, as an essential worker, i was in my office everyday through the pandemic – i saw my clients via Live Video Chat, i supervised therapists through Live Video Chat and i managed most of my staff through Live Video chat.

I have been asked a number of times “it must be so much better seeing clients in person, right?” I have spent much time thinking about this, and caught myself reflecting on just this question during sessions… I stumbled on the realization that when we see our clients in their own environment, over Live Video, we really do learn a lot about them we might not get to see when they come to our office.

Their home environment tells the clinician a lot about how they live and what is important to them, whether it is art they have hanging on their wall, or their connection to a dog or a cat or maybe both!

Seeing our clients in their own comfort zone allows us more understanding to who they are, which will undoubtedly help the therapeutic relationship. People often take for granted their environment and wouldn’t think to share some of the aspects of their home life with their therapist.

One of the main benefits of Online Counseling, besides the end of the commute and no more uncomfortable waiting rooms, is when our client is in their natural environment, often they are more relaxed and open to the process.

Dr. Nicoletta Pallotta
BCS Group – Founder, CEO


NP-_-Bed-_-BW-3-of-11-1280x1831-1-1280x659.jpg

An article written by our Founder and CEO,
Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW

14 months of a Pandemic no one saw coming and no one was prepared for. I have seen clients struggle with social distancing, isolation, struggling with remote working, and/or home schooling their children. We have all been mentally challenged with having no physical contact and not being able to see our friends and loved ones. And of course, the devastating reality of some of us losing loved ones to Covid-19.

I was committed to being one constant in the lives of our clients, to continuing to see every single one of them that needed us, but also being available for so many, many more that reached out for our help. These unique and stressful times pushed us to do psychotherapy in a different way that we were used too. Our roles became overwhelming with responsibilities, with day-in and day-out struggles for my amazing team, who’s dedication and compassion came shinning though day after day after day.

What does the future of mental health look like?
“I believe that we don’t know the full impact of the pandemic, and that many people are still in survival mode.”

Many people are still living day to day, coping with the devastation of personal loss and financial concerns as best they can. Mental services are now more needed and demand than ever before. We still don’t fully know the consequences of social isolation and how it has impacted us and what effect it might have on our children and their futures. We will have to wait and see.

Tele-mental health is here to stay. Technology helps us reach more people who need us, particularly in remote areas, and our therapists turn up every day to help those who need us. And I am here to support them every step of the way.

The future is brighter – I am sure of it.


eating-disorder-1280x853.jpg

An article written by our Founder and CEO,
Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW

The fear is, because tele-mental health is a newer, alternative form of treatment, it is somehow less effective or a less desirable standard of care.

But the truth is, this technology platform represents much of the future in healthcare, and will likely lead the charge into the next era. In my opinion, having provided mental health care for over 35 years, tele-health works particularly well using digital, video-based care models, allowing us to reach more people in need, who otherwise, go without quality care.

This is one of the few health specialties that does not necessarily require ‘touch’ when doing an assessment or delivering treatment. Without that physical need, the Care Provider does not typically need to be in the same room as the client, allowing many more ways this care model could benefit their clients.

One might ask; does this communication between client and provider be as good as an in-person visit?

This may have been true when tele-health was in its infancy and lacked the technological capabilities it currently has. With the recent advancements in video conferencing systems and the ability to access much higher Internet speeds, the quality of video provides an environment in which there is little difference to an in-person consultation. The Care Provider will still be able to pick up on nonverbal cues and observe other factors such as their behaviors, facial expressions, hygiene, and speech patterns.

Tele-mental health care is as effective as in person sessions.

It also greatly increases access to care for many clients who may not otherwise be able to seek treatment. Allowing the client to seek treatment in their community, or even in their own home, has led to less travel, fewer absences from work, less time waiting, more choices for treatment, and ultimately, these factors lead to greater access for clients. This is especially important given the huge shortage of providers in this field.


woman-therapist.jpg

An article by Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW.

The challenges that women deal with are often directly related to their gender; sexism, stereotyping, motherhood, childbirth issues, infertility struggles etc.

As a society we like to think that we’ve achieved ‘equality’, but the truth is the way women experience life and are perceived in life, is still very different to men.

Traditionally perceived gender roles are something we’ll never truly escape. There is inherent pressure on women to balance career and family, and this is something that affects women across the globe. If you have children, you probably undergo immense guilt when unavoidable parental obligations interrupt your working day, even if a 60-hour week is your norm, deep down you may still think this way. All this in addition to the general predicament of feeling undervalued both at home and at work.

If you feel like you need help in dealing with any aspect of life, there’s a lot to be said for talking to someone of the same sex. Female therapists get it, because they live it. They understand. This is not to say that male therapists aren’t amazing and don’t add value, but when you’re dealing with sensitive subjects that are unique to women (and even when you’re not) it can be comforting, and easier to talk to a female counselor who can personally relate to much of what you’re going through.

 


 

Please fill in the form below to schedule an appointment

For billing/insurance purposes, we must have your legal name exactly as it appears on your insurance ID Card

(Please write N/A if you do not currently have one)