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RMU Counseling Center
counseling@rmu.edu
412-397-5900 phone
412-397-5920 fax
Patrick Henry, Lower Level

FACULTY/STAFF > DEPARTMENTS & OFFICES > STUDENT LIFE > COUNSELING CENTER

Teletherapy Information

The RMU Counseling Center is providing distance counseling (teletherapy) via telephone or face-to-face video conferencing to currently enrolled students. Students must meet the eligibility criteria for teletherapy (see below).

Please note that while the eligibility criteria states that students must be physically located in the state of Pennsylvania while receiving these services (due to licensing restrictions), many states are allowing teletherapy sessions across state borders during the pandemic. This means that students located outside of PA may still be eligible to receive teletherapy services from our counselors Students should inform the Counseling Center staff of their location so it can be determined if their state has this type of agreement in place.

Prior to beginning teletherapy, you will have an initial video consultation with a counseling center staff member in order to verify your identity by matching you with your photo ID (i.e. state ID, passport, Freedom Card). During this initial verification, you will choose a passphrase or number which you will use for all future sessions. This process protects you from another person posing as you. Video communication may lack some visual or audio cues that on occasion may result in misunderstanding. Should this ever happen, it is important to clarify any resulting concerns with your therapist to reduce any feelings of discomfort.

Video conferencing counseling sessions are held via Google Hangouts Meet and via RMU student email addresses. The Counseling Center staff will send you a link to your student account for each session. PLEASE NOTE:  Our attendance police remains the same as on ground services.

  • Teletherapy Consent for Treatment Form
Click HERE for a copy of the Teletherapy Consent for Treatment Form.

  • Suggested Privacy Measures for RMU Teletherapy Clients
Click HERE to learn about suggested privacy measures that you should consider taking when engaging in teletherapy.

Limitations of Teletherapy

Teletherapy should not be viewed as a substitute for face-to-face counseling or medication by a physician. It is an alternative form of counseling with some differences from traditional counseling. For example:
  • If you are having a crisis, acute psychosis, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts, teletherapy may not be appropriate for your needs.
  • Due to the use of technology and available bandwidth, teletherapy may have disruptions in service and/or quality of service.
  • Students who are residing outside of the state of Pennsylvania may not be eligible for teletherapy due to licensure restrictions across state lines. Please consult with the Counseling Center staff to determine if your state has an agreement in place to permit these services, as many states are allowing these sessions during the pandemic.  If your home state does not allow teletherapy across state lines, then the staff will work with you to find local providers when possible.

Emergency Management for Teletherapy

In order for the RMU Counseling Center to get you help in case of an emergency and for your safety, the following measures are important and necessary:

  • Your counselor will need to know the location/address in which you will consistently be during counseling sessions and will need to know if this location changes.
  • Your counselor will request that you identify someone whom you trust to give your counselor permission to contact in case of an emergency. You and/or your counseling will verify that this emergency contact person is able and willing to go to your location in the event of an emergency, and if necessary, call 911 and/or transport you to a hospital.

Back-up Plan in Case of Technology Failure

  • The most reliable back-up is a land line or cell phone. Therefore, it is recommended that you always have a phone available and provide your counselor with your phone number.
  • If you get disconnected from a video conferencing session, re-start the session. If you are unable to reconnect within ten minutes, please call the Counseling Center at 412-397-5900.

Scope of Service and Eligibility

The RMU Counseling Center provides services for all currently enrolled students. If it is determined by Counseling Center staff that a student’s needs exceed the scope of service or expertise available or that your needs cannot be met by participating in teletherapy, we will assist you in identifying appropriate referral resources to meet your needs. The RMU Counseling Center does not pay the costs of community resources/treatment to which you may be referred.

Confidentiality

Our therapists are licensed mental health professionals or pre-doctoral interns who are supervised by senior staff and are ethically and legally bound to maintain your confidentiality. Teletherapy sessions in our office are provided in a private office. All teletherapy will be conducted through Google Hangouts Meet, which is encrypted to the federal standard for confidentiality.

How do I start?

To schedule a pre-screening appointment, to resume appointments, or for questions, call us at 412-397-5900 or email counseling@rmu.edu. For more information about our services and for additional resources, please explore the tabs on the left-hand side of this website.


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