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Visual and Non-Verbal Aspects in Telepsychiatry

  • Visual and Non-Verbal Aspects in Telepsychiatry
  • Jeffrey Bennett, M.D.

The visual and non-verbal aspects of a Telepsychiatry encounter are often challenging, but are important in establishing rapport and in facilitating data collection and observation during the interview and exam.

Some “do’s” and “don’ts” for the clinical encounter include:

  • Look into the camera, not the patient’s eyes
    • This will give the patient the impression of direct eye contact
    • Use your peripheral vision frequently to avoid averting gaze
  • Adjust your position before the encounter on screen and use a video system that includes an image of how you appear to the originating site
  • Avoid looking away from the camera
  • Be sure to give ample time for a patient to hear your question or statements
  • Be sure to give ample time for a patient’s reply

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