Counseling Center: Online & Distance Counseling
The RMU Counseling Center is currently providing distance counseling (teletherapy) via telephone or face-to-face video conferencing to currently enrolled students. Students must meet the eligibility criteria for teletherapy. Students must be physically located in the state of Pennsylvania while receiving these services (due to licensing restrictions). If you are not located in PA, our Counseling Center staff can check to see if your state is one of the many that are allowing teletherapy across state lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- To schedule a teletherapy appointment, please reach out to us by phone at 412-397-5900 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things to Know
- During your initial teletherapy session, you will be asked to verify your identity by matching you with your photo ID (i.e. state ID, passport, RMU ID Card). 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 Meet using RMU student email addresses. Counseling Center staff will send you a link to your student account for each session. Our attendance policy is the same for either in-person or teletherapy sessions.
- 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:
- At the start of every session your counselor will confirm your location/address and current phone number in case of a lost connection.
- Your counselor will request that you identify a collaborator, someone whom you trust to give your counselor permission to contact in case of an emergency. You and/or your counselor 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.
- Additional information for new students.
Limitations of Teletherapy
Teletherapy should not be viewed as a substitute for face-to-face counseling. 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.
- Due to the use of technology and available bandwidth, video counseling may have disruptions in service and/or quality of service.
- For students who are residing outside of the state of Pennsylvania and are not eligible for distance counseling due to licensure restrictions across state lines, Counseling Center staff will work with you to find local providers when possible.
Suggestions for Successful & Private Teletherapy Sessions
- Conduct the sessions in a private location, where others cannot hear you, and over a secure network.
- Have an environment with good lighting where your counselor can see you well. Nonverbal signals are a significant part of someone’s communication and will help you and your counselor have better communication.
- Password-protect your computer, tablet, phone, and any other device with a password that is unique and do not share your passwords with anyone.
- Do not record any sessions. This is prohibited and will result in a termination of telemental health services.
Crisis & Emergencies
For information on crisis and emergency situations, please click here.