The behavioural change model
The behavioural change model provides customised personal psychological support via SMS to people who are trying to change their behaviour in areas such as;
- weight loss,
- quitting smoking,
- exercise adherence,
- drug & alcohol management.
Mental Health and Crisis Support Service
Introducing TEXT messaging and online chat services for a range of issues such as;
- Domestic Violence and Family Violence situations
- Suicidal tendencies
- Workplace conflict
- Grief and loss
- Relationship issues
- Parenting concerns
- FIFO challenges
Why use TEXT MESSAGING:
- Enables immediate crisis support in an environment where people can’t talk openly
- To prevent compromising safety if overheard on the phone,
- To assist those with have difficulty hearing,
- To prevent fear of being overheard in open plan offices, school classrooms, call centres and factory floors
- To reduce high levels of anxiety or depression whereby a person lacks the willingness or inner strength to engage in direct contact via voice or face to face with a psychologist.
- To reduce the perceived feeling of confrontation by talking directly with a psychologist
- To reduce embarrassment or discomfort when discussing the content of an issue directly with a psychologist
- To counteract poor phone reception/limited phone coverage due to remote locations i.e mining sites
- To address the lack of time or access to normal services as client may be a shift worker
- To provide another avenue for psychoeducation via interactive avenues such as Youtube delivered directly to a smartphone
- To reduce the stigma of seeking help
“Texting gave me a little more time to think and answer and helped refine the problem in succinct responses which I felt helped to get to the problem. I found it less confronting to do text rather than phone for some reason”
“I liked getting straight to the point, I also like that it is here for me to read, most of the time when I come out of a face to face session I have forgotten what was said by the time I get home or need to use it or reflect. I had a habit of dissociating a lot too, this really helped me stay focused.”
“I lost my voice so phone was too hard and I needed immediate help tonight”
Virtual Psychologist provides the users with;
- a clinical assessment of their issues (including risk assessment);
- an engaging and positive clinical experience that draws upon their strengths and focuses on issue-containment and solution-focused intervention; and
- an exploration of options and recommendations for moving forward (including short-term counselling and referrals to work/life services).
- Psychological benefits of written clinical communication. (text)
Writing therapy is a long-proven successful medium for self-help (Heyman and Speyer 2010). When delivered online, this method allows participants to get to the root of the issue faster, and clients tend to feel more comfortable disclosing personal information and self-analyzing in this setting versus face-to-face or telephonic interaction (Yaphe, J. and Speyer, C. 2010). People who use written communication to discuss their issues have time to think things through and have an extra layer of privacy since they won’t be heard or seen accessing support.
- New skills set of Psychologists to provide clinical support in an online environment.
Virtual Psychologist counsellors are trained in writing; netiquette; gender and cultural issues; interpreting written tone, mindset, and mental constructs; and as such deliver clinically appropriate messages to clients through innovation. All counsellors are trained and supervised by STAP accredited psychologists.
- Virtual Psychologist best practice standards.
Virtual Psychologist has established best-in-class clinical practices and protocols for managing high-risk SMS clients, and employ a user-friendly platform to ensure comfort in 2 way SMS interaction. Best practices include having clear protocols and procedures for managing high-risk chat clients, developing a chat flow that allows the counsellor to verify the parameters of the service with the client, and procedures for seamlessly transitioning clients to other services should the need arise. (Clients in immediate crisis who access online services are triaged to our OnCall Triage Centre where they will speak with a counsellor over the phone who will further assess the situation and provide appropriate support.)
- Data Storage
Communication occurs over a desktop platform and the notes are held in a dedicated database with state of the art security. Backups are taken every 30 minutes and encrypted before being sent off site to other secured servers in Sydney and Brisbane. The servers are monitored 24/7.