You may have considered online therapy in the past and wondered if it is right for you.
Online therapy, whether undertaken through email, telephone or chat, does not deliver the same experience as you would get with face-to-face therapy, although the effect of this is now mitigated as more and more people are used to video conferencing with apps and websites such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
However virtual therapy still offers a unique experience which may be very beneficial to a lot of people who would be less comfortable with the alternatives.
In addition, there have been studies published that promote and celebrate its benefits, including patients reporting high levels of satisfaction in a review by The World Journal of Psychiatry and a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which found that online cognitive behavioural therapy effectively reduced symptoms of depression and other mental health issues amongst participants.
There is no doubt that online therapy offers a great number of advantages.
You are not limited to finding a therapist within travelling distance; you can keep the same person as your therapist if you travel around, or even if you live in a different country. This is very useful for those people who have schedules with are not fixed, or shift patterns at work. The sessions can be designed to work around your busy routine.
You can also choose a therapist that speaks the same language as you, which is useful if you have moved abroad. We should remember that there are many people that live in remote areas of the country, so travelling to their nearest city weekly is not always an option. Also, not every therapy or counselling office has adaptations in place for people living with additional physical needs.
If we are social distancing, online therapy is an excellent way of continuing therapy during lockdown periods.
You will be able to keep a written record of therapy through emails, messages or chat logs. You can also respond any time of the day or night which suits you best.
You would be able to re-read the therapist’s advice as often as required, and interpret it at your leisure.
It’s possible to fit your therapy in around other parts of your daily routine, including work, travel or sleep. Imagine the convenience of having therapy during your lunch break or once your children have gone to bed. No need to travel and you can continue with your day to day schedule once you have finished your session. Even better you could be in your pyjamas ready for bed! Although we recommend that you don’t spend all day in your pyjamas as changing out of them in the morning can get you in a much better frame of mind.
Online therapy is usually more affordable as both the patient and the therapist would enjoy lower costs in travel and rent.
Finally and most importantly, most people see online therapy as having less stigma attached and must less intimidating than visiting a therapist in person. It can be very daunting to go to your counsellor’s office or home, especially on the first few occasions, and have the possibility of those awkward moments where you may bump into the previous or next client. Online counselling eliminates all of these problems and gives a patient a much more personal and confidential encounter.
Also, if you live in a village or small town, you may rightly be worried that you will run into your therapist outside of your therapy session, or that you may be connected to your therapist through other acquaintances. In this case, arranging an online counselling session with a therapist who lives in a different location may give you more peace of mind.