After majoring in psychology as an undergraduate, Jennifer W., CAGS, NCSP, shifted her focus from counseling to school psychology at the encouragement of an adviser for a graduate assistantship. She’s happy she made that decision. She started her teletherapy practice with PresenceLearning in February 2020 and she’s been doing assessments and counseling with students throughout the 2020–2021 school year.
What do you enjoy about being a provider with PL?
I think the materials on the platform are excellent, and the support—tech, billing, navigating the platform—has been prompt and helpful. I love working with students through the platform, and they seem to enjoy it, as well. They are tech savvy and I have found it easy to establish rapport even though we are not in the same physical room.
What advice would you give districts considering online therapy?
It can work! Assessment and counseling can be done professionally and well with this platform. It is a privilege to be able to work with students and help support the school districts which collaborate with PresenceLearning. The more “infrastructure” set up in the beginning, i.e., names of contacts at school, procedures for processing a referral or new counseling student—the better collaboration between the school system and PL. Up-front work only benefits the student. Don’t be intimidated—try it!
Having a very clear hierarchy of how materials are set up and delivered to parents is really important so it doesn’t fall on the on-the-ground therapists to take this on. They are typically short-staffed and don’t have a lot of spare time so it’s important to think ahead and organize this so it doesn’t fall on them and add to their workload. One school I work with sets up very detailed Google sheets—for every child that’s referred, they list their parent, parent’s phone number, and email address, their teachers’ name, email address, and the team chair of school. It’s all there in the chart. It’s very helpful to have all this up front. They have a separate area for consents that I can access. And I’ve been given access to school records at the school district. This way I don’t have to ask the on-the-ground therapists to make me copies of documents. This same school also has set up a tracking system to show where the document cameras are at all times…and the protocols to see if they’ve been picked up. Then I can see easily if a family doesn’t have their camera yet and I can follow up to ensure materials are available in time for scheduled appointments. These systems really help things run smoothly and keep the on-the-ground therapists happy.
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