prinicpal clinician communication

4 Ways to Improve Principal and Teletherapy Clinician Communication

Administrators, teletherapy clinicians, and parents need to join forces to enable students to enjoy a healthy, productive learning environment in school. While many components are necessary, excellent communication skills are indeed at the top of the list.

 

But as we all know, the reality of creating a healthy and productive communication bond is often easier said than done. Unfortunately, there is usually a disconnect between school administrators and teletherapy clinicians that complicate what would otherwise seem relatively straightforward.

 

Below you will find four helpful tips that can both facilitate and improve this crucial tool to enhance student success and bolster the relationship between administrators and teletherapy clinicians. When there is so much at stake, it behooves the conscientious administrator to master as many of these suggestions as quickly as possible!

 

1. Regular and Consistent Communication with Teletherapy Clinicians

It is a well-established fact that relationships won’t either form or last if the contact is intermittent.  The communication between administrators and teletherapy clinicians must be frequent enough to form a bond that will allow important information regarding the student to pass comfortably between them.

 

What’s more, the communication shouldn’t be limited to crisis intervention or discussing problems but should be expanded to sharing stories about the students and discussing ideas the that will improve the clinical and educational environment for students, teachers and therapists alike.

 

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2. As a Policy:  Keep the Door Wide Open

Beyond the communication being consistent, teletherapy clinicians must sense that the administrator’s door is always open. This will facilitate a more open and honest dialogue, not to mention that it will build mutual respect and trust.  Such foundations are required if the conversation will be both collaborative and productive.

 

It is important to note that “open door” means more than just physical access to the principal’s office. If the teletherapy clinicians or for that matter any other therapists or teachers are not walking through the door to talk, the principal should be seeking them out. And don’t forget to be accessible through email and your cell phone as well!

 

3. Solicit Feedback on a Regular Basis

While regular, consistent communication together with keeping the door open will go a long way, alone they still aren’t enough.  Sometimes your teachers or teletherapy clinicians may be too intimidated to voice their valid concerns. This is why great administrators elicit feedback through surveys or other venues to allow their staff to communicate their concerns in an uninhibited manner.

 

Feedback is essential for two reasons. First of all, it conveys an unspoken message to the teachers and therapists that their insights and suggestions are crucial thus strengthening the bond between staff and administration.  Secondly, often those same insights and ideas lead to necessary improvements in the school.

 

4. Don’t Just Communicate, Set Objectives

While communication is valuable in and of itself for the reasons mentioned above, if you want to upgrade that communication, give it a purpose. Experts advise that administrators should set objectives by way of an agenda when interacting with staff.  It is the mark of a seasoned administrator to be able to balance these “focused” communications with the casual interactions designed to build relationships.

Is your school looking to explore the benefits of teletherapy? Schedule your free demo today.

mental health therapy rural schools

Can Teletherapy Quell the Mental Health Crisis in Rural America?

The CDC reports 43.4 million adults suffered from some behavioral health issue in 2015 alone. Overwhelming numbers of Americans will, at some time during their lives, confront a mental health challenge. It may be related to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or perhaps a result of circumstances like grief over a loss or a life change.

With all these people in need, just imagine for a moment that there was no psychiatrist or psychologist anywhere around, not to mention a specialist who these millions of people would feel comfortable with entrusting their needs. Hold that image. This is precisely the disturbing picture for many in Rural America.

The numbers tell the story. A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that nearly 2/3  (65%) of non-metropolitan counties don’t have a psychiatrist while almost 1/2 (47%) of non-metropolitan counties are without a psychologist. These numbers become more frightening when one understands the critical link between inadequate mental health care and other crises such as drug abuse and suicide.

For Many, Viable Options Don’t Exist

Many clinical psychologists practicing in rural communities have come to the depressing conclusion that there just aren’t enough options; in some areas, no options at all.  Even when those limited options exist, people have to travel to reach them.  Those mental health workers who exist are almost exclusively generalists, not the specialists that so many people need.  The bottom line is that most people are just left on their own.

Another devastating problem is that mental health care for most people in rural communities is considered to be a last resort. The whole notion of preventative mental health care is unheard of.  In practical terms, this means that a problem is only treated when it becomes a full-blown crisis.

Clinicians Are Overwhelmed

Until this point, we have focused on the client.  However, there is another dark side to the problem – the heroic therapists are also suffering.  Many rural clinicians claim that their frustrations are endless.  The resources such as shelters, hospitals and support groups that exist in metropolitan areas are generally nowhere to be found in Rural America.

Get your free copy of our groundbreaking ebook: Teletherapy Diminishes Client Engagement: Debunking The Myths

The result is that the professionals need to shoulder the entire burden of mental health care themselves – a Herculean feat that most of them aren’t qualified to do.  Even supplemental facilities that do exist often face the continuous threat of being closed or scaled down due to the ugly fiscal realities of many small towns.

The Vicious Cycle Keeps Getting More Vicious

Don’t think that failing to solve the particular mental health problem is the end of the story. Often, these problems spiral into worse problems like overdoses and depressions that take a substantial toll on quality of life and finances as the situation becomes more complicated from not being addressed at an earlier stage.

Online Mental Health Therapy to the Rescue!

Until recently, there didn’t seem to be much hope of ever arresting this devastating problem, not to mention turning it around. But the advent and growth of online mental health therapy can potentially change all that. Through the marvels of technology, a venue has been created that can provide top-quality mental health care from literally anywhere through a laptop and webcam.

The dearth of mental health resources in rural communities is no longer an obstacle to providing top-quality care for those who need it most. Aside from the benefits of keeping costs to a minimum and the flexibility, specialists from anywhere in the country (or world) can be just a click away. As the popularity of online mental health therapy continues to grow, the mental health crisis devastating rural communities may finally be on its way to being solved.

Is your school looking to explore the benefits of teletherapy? Schedule your free demo today.

teletherapy stigma

Why is There a Stigma Associated with Teletherapy?

It’s a typical scenario.  After around six or seven sessions the child will announce to the teletherapy clinician, “You know, I am really happy that I started teletherapy.  I have been so ashamed at the way I talk for so long. Now I don’t mind it as much. I enjoy talking to my friends. I wish I had started sooner!”

A Child’s Shame in Receiving Teletherapy

Often children are heard by their parents confiding in their friends, “I sure am glad that no one besides you knows that I go to a teletherapy session every week.

The obvious question is “Why.” After all, how is teletherapy different than some other compensatory aid to alleviate a deficit, such as wearing glasses?

A child wouldn’t be embarrassed to show up in school with a cast on a broken leg. But when it comes to teletherapy, apparently this is of the most shameful secrets of all. For a child to acknowledge that he/she has trouble talking and needs help to do it correctly is admitting an entirely new level of vulnerability.

How Speech Proficiency Relates One’s Sense of Self

The source of a child’s communication difficulties can be for any number of reasons.  Stuttering and apraxia primarily stem from a genetic or neurologic deficit. Lisps and strained voice habits are due to developmental problems. And sometimes anxiety can be the culprit.

Whatever the particular speech problem from whichever source, lacking the ability to clearly and pleasantly communicate can complicate a child’s life in many ways.  Academic struggles, social failures, and the pain of being unable to express oneself can be enough the severely impair a child’s self-esteem for years to come.

And if that weren’t bad enough, erroneous presumptions such as relating a person’s intelligence and competence to how one speaks can completely undermine a child’s development. Even the ability to get married someday and raise a family is often impacted by a childhood speech problem.

Get your free copy of our groundbreaking ebook: Teletherapy Diminishes Client Engagement: Debunking The Myths

Getting the Necessary Help in Secret

It indeed is ironic that kids communicate by talking to other children while at the same time talking about the way the speech challenged child talks is filled with shame. Every child wants desperately to improve at talking providing no else finds out about these heroic efforts at self-improvement.

Teletherapy clinicians often report that the sessions they conduct with children are both exciting and uplifting. Aside from working through the agenda of the session, children often tell of the challenges they were confronted with over the week and how they either overcame them or were overwhelmed by them.

This part of the clinical session is more akin to mental health therapy than to speech therapy. And yet this opportunity to share and receive encouragement and guidance is critical to the child’s overall development and growth, not to mention sanity!  Often the heavy burden of shame the child carries slowly melts away.

The Critical Role of Family

Sharing this shame and anxiety with parents and siblings can also help the child unburden, but it comes with its risks. On the one hand, who can make the child more comfortable than the loved ones he/she is surrounded by every day?  On the other hand, if the family doesn’t fully appreciate what the speech-challenged child is going through, the interactions can be disastrous and debilitating.

The two keys to the family’s role are validation and encouragement.  To tell the child that he/she is doesn’t have a problem can be counterproductive and downright cruel. The child knows that he/she has a problem, so what is to be gained by denying the child’s experience? Alternatively, the child needs to feel that getting help is both courageous and to be respected.

Is your school looking to explore the benefits of teletherapy? Schedule your free demo today.

teletherapy motivation

Do You Need to Motivate Your Teachers and Teletherapy Clinicians?

We live in a world that sees digital innovations creeping into every area of both our professional and personal lives. And as unpredictable as many of these changes may be in general, in certain areas such as education and therapy (such as the advent of teletherapy), the future is quite uncertain.

While an exhaustive review is beyond the scope of this blog, we will focus on one particular area; how school administrators can adequately inspire and motivate teachers and teletherapy clinicians in today’s rapidly changing school environment.

1. Respect your teachers and teletherapy clinicians

It should come as no surprise that respecting your staff is the very top of the list. However what may come as a surprise is that while you may think you are giving them enough respect, in reality, you may be not.

Just as teachers are well aware of what language will either nurture or derail a relationship with a student, principals need to know much the same regarding how to connect with their teachers. The rules, while quite simple, are not always easy to implement- respectful and positive language, showing genuine concern about their observations, interests, and suggestions. Don’t just show respect, but honestly feel it!

2. You want your space, give them theirs

You must understand is that your teachers are leaders. How else could they be expected to run of a class of 20-30 children on a daily basis without regular disruptions? As such give them the room to develop their lesson plans within the parameters of curricula set by the district.

According to research conducted by Education Week, teachers who are permitted to have control over their work attain higher performance levels which directly raises their students as a result.

Get your free copy of our groundbreaking ebook: Teletherapy Diminishes Client Engagement: Debunking The Myths

3. Provide them the tools they need to succeed

Assuming that you want your teachers and therapists such as teletherapy clinicians to be successful with the various types of students with whom they are charged, you will need to maintain realistically sized classes and the necessary supplies.

Whether the particular needs are visual, auditory, or tactile, any way you look at it, those materials, supplies, games, and even evaluation tools, will be needed. Granted that there will be districts that can’t afford to supply their teachers and therapists. But at least you can advocate for them to find alternative solutions, or at the very least be genuinely empathetic to their plight!

4. Nurture the inherent greatness of your teachers and therapists

Teachers and therapists by their very nature are lifelong learners with an abundant desire to grow and become more. This is why professional development is essential not only for its practical benefits for the students but to the touch and enliven the very souls of your teachers and therapists.

While it may stretch your budget, the rewards you will reap from investing in seminars or webinars that are focused on cutting-edge education technologies, pedagogical theories, or developments in the various therapeutic fields are immeasurable.

Epilogue

While these suggestions are based upon research and have proven successful; this list is by no means exhaustive. For the genuinely interested administrator, the ideas above will be a catalyst to explore and brainstorm other innovations that will carry their students to new levels of success by way of empowering their most valuable resource- the dedicated teachers and therapists, such as teletherapy clinicians.

Is your school looking to explore the benefits of teletherapy? Schedule your free demo today.