On May 24th, Antioch Los Angeles presented a webinar exploring the future of teletherapy, and this featured faculty member Susan Schuster-Bacon giving a presentation not just about this topic but also about Antioch’s online therapy traineeship sites. Schuster-Bacon is not only a licensed marriage and family therapist but also holds teaching credentials in regular and special education. In 2020, Schuster-Bacon became the director of ACTS (Antioch Community Therapy Services), a no-cost clinic providing therapy to individuals in the state of California, as well as Clinical Training Supervision to Antioch Los Angeles Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology students studying to become future therapists or clinicians. (Learn more about ACTS in this article about its launch.)
With the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were quickly forced to adapt to an online format, almost overnight. While the adaptation to virtual therapeutic services, known as teletherapy, was initially challenging for many, teletherapy is now booming as a field. “I personally think this is the wave of the future,” Schuster-Bacon says. She explains that teletherapy is now quite popular. Because insurance now covers teletherapy, it’s more accessible and so more people are seeking therapy services. She also says that research shows teletherapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. “This hybrid model is here to stay!” says Schuster-Bacon.
I myself am studying in the full-residency Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program at Antioch Los Angeles, so this event spoke to me because it directly relates to my potential career as a therapist. I never expected to complete a Master’s degree (almost) fully online, nor to work in a setting that was fully remote. However, this is the new nature of the career field, so it’s important to learn from those already in the field regarding the changes and likely future career paths.
Programs like Antioch’s newly-launched low-residency Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology are now more relevant than ever. Since the program is a hybrid, partly online and partly on campus in Los Angeles, it’s much more accessible to prospective students interested in beginning a career path in therapy from wherever it is they are located. Plus, adds, Schuster-Bacon, “Clinics are now looking to hire trainees and associates with experience in teletherapy.” As we have learned over the past several years, the future is not always predictable; however, in the field of psychotherapy, it appears that the hybrid model is here to stay.