Online Therapy: The Pros and Cons
Against popular belief, research continues to prove that online counseling or e-therapy is as effective as traditional in-person therapy. One of the crucial factors of successful treatment is the therapeutic relationship. Some may think that it is impossible to form a good rapport without seeing the client’s entire body language. However, in this modern age, more friendships and relationships are found online than ever before. The quality of the relationship is more about the authenticity of the people than the medium they are using. Once there is a skilled counselor on one end, and you are willing and open on the other, healing can take place.
Potential Drawbacks to E-therapy:
- Secure Location: To maintain the confidential nature of counseling, the best practice would be for you to have a quiet and secure place for your sessions. If you are a parent, it may be challenging to get a room to yourself for an hour, undisturbed. Many clients have sessions in their bedrooms, front porch, or even their cars to get the privacy they need.
- Reliable Internet Connection: Using a secure video platform is essential to ensure the client’s safety. But even more important is having a strong internet connection on both ends. If you want the best out of your session, make sure that you are close to the modem, or at least where the signal can be steady. Otherwise, your therapist may not hear you, or there will be frequent dropped calls.
- Crisis: It can be problematic for therapists to intervene in the event of a crisis since they may not be in the same city or even country as you. Therefore, online therapy is not best for people with specific problems or conditions (such as suicidal intent or psychosis).
Benefits to E-therapy:
- Avoid the Stigma: We know that seeking mental health treatment is still stigmatized. And as we work to change that stigma, we do not want it to be a hindrance to treatment. Clients no longer have to drive up to a counseling facility or worry about seeing people they know in the waiting room. They can feel secure in knowing that they are seeking their best interest without the intrusive eyes of others.
- Flexible Scheduling: If there’s an accident on the highway and you miss your in-person therapy appointment, you would most likely still have to pay for it. With online therapy, it is easier to reschedule your appointment if something comes up. To be courteous, try your best to reschedule a day in advance or the morning of your appointment. But life happens! And we understand. Not to mention, if you are working full-time and only have availabilities in the evening or on the weekend. Most private practices would be closed, but online makes it easier to accommodate.
- Economically Friendly: We often don’t count the cost it takes to drive to and from our appointments. But the truth is, that gas money adds up! There is already a fee-for-service with your counselor; why pay even more for transportation? Gone are the days where you have to commute an hour to seek the help you need.
- More Professional Options: Traditional therapy is helpful to those who use it. However, if you want in-person, it limits the number of therapists you have access to choose from. However, if you try the online route, it opens your scope of who you can select to be your provider, and there is an entire world out there.
- Breaking Barriers: With traditional therapy, all clients would have to be in the same country, same city, same office, at the same time. If you have family members that travel or a long-distance relationship, this may not always be the case. However, e-therapy can allow persons who are in different locations to engage in the counseling process without hindrances.
- Talking to a Stranger: For many people, one of the biggest hindrances to starting counseling is talking to a stranger. Individuals who experience anxiety, especially social anxiety, are more comfortable reaching out to an online therapist. It can be simpler for some people to reveal private information when they’re sharing it online as opposed to in-person.
E-therapy is making mental health more accessible and convenient for the wider population. Still, it is imperative to be sure that your online therapist is a licensed or certified mental health treatment provider.