You should take online therapy under your consideration.
Visiting a therapist and consulting personal problems in person can be difficult for a lot of people. The feeling of hesitation and shyness is common among the patients who need the therapy. There are other barriers that we discussed later in this article. But online therapy can solve these barriers and gives a better experience in many ways. Of course, there may be some limitations in online therapy but it is not accountable compared to the potential benefits, especially after 2020’s covid-19 breakout. Here we tried to explain everything you need to know about online therapy.
What is online therapy?
You may have heard about e-therapy, e-counseling, teletherapy, telepsychology, cyber-counseling, web therapy, etc. all of which are similar to online therapy. Online therapy typically refers to the provision of professional mental health counseling services through the internet. So, anytime you’re interacting with a psychologist not in person but on the internet, maybe you are taking part in online therapy or e-counseling.
Online therapy is not a new concept in 2021. It is getting popular day by day but still not enough popular in comparison with offline therapy. But it can be as beneficial as offline therapy. You may take Online therapy in real-time, such as in phone conversations (video or voice calling), text messaging, or in a time-delayed format, such as through email messages.
How does online therapy work?
Now that you know what online therapy is, let’s discuss how to get online therapy and how does it work.
As online therapy occurs over the internet, both, you and the therapist will need to have an internet connection, connected to a device such as your computer or smartphone. The process to get is almost similar to any other online doctor service. Usually, there is a third-party website or application that works as a middle man between you and the psychological therapist. You will be able to see the necessary information such as name, expertise, experience, available hour, etc. about the therapists registered with them. All you have to do is, book an online appointment with a therapist relevant to your problem and contact him over the internet on time. All these things may sound a bit difficult when explaining in words, but in actuality, this is super easy and can be done in a very short time. Online therapy can also be conducted without any third-party website or application. But a third party can make the process easier. Like offline therapy, you may have to pay a certain amount of money for offline therapy. Though offline therapy can be more cost-efficient in comparison.
You can communicate with your therapist through voice or video calls, text messages (chatting), and also email in some cases. You can discuss all the issues you have and your psychologist or therapist will counsel you to a solution. He/she may also give prescriptions, suggest follow-ups, etc. It’s almost like meeting a therapist in person. Don’t confuse yourself. Online therapists are the same experts who may be also providing similar services offline.
How effective is online therapy?
The effectiveness may depend on person to person. Some might not find it as effective as offline therapy when most others find it highly effective. According to a review published by the World Journal of Psychiatry, patients receiving mental health treatment through video conferencing reported high levels of satisfaction. There are many other studies where online counseling was found more effective than in-person counseling. But there might be some limitations. See the pros and cons for a better understanding.
Online Therapy Pros and Cons:
The pros or benefits of online therapy are many which are also noticeable if we compare it to any in-person therapy.
Time-saving: You can arrange an online appointment anytime for online therapy and consult with your therapist at a time when you are free. You have the independence to fix a schedule. The whole process will take just a few minutes. And you can take the service from anywhere. It will save you a few hours. You don’t have to worry about skipping work for a day.
Cost-efficient: Usually online therapy will cost you less than in-person therapy. If you think from a broad perspective, it’s saving a lot of money. You don’t even have to pay for a uber ride.
Easy: With time & money it will save some energy too. To meet your therapist in person, you may have to get your car out then drive to his place, park the car, or just visiting a place can be a hassle in many ways. Again, physically unable persons will also find it an easy process. All you need is just a few taps of your smartphone
A good option for remote areas: If you are living in a remote area where you can’t find a therapist near you then an online therapist can be your only solution. It may also enable you to take therapy from a specialist who is living abroad.
Solution of hesitancy: People seeking psychological help, often find it difficult to talk about their issues with an unknown person. And face to face communication often makes it even more difficult. But as online therapy occurs over the internet, you don’t need any face-to-face communication. You can even avoid talking and do the chatting.
There are some limitations to online therapy such as,
Technological barrier: Some may find the process of online therapy difficult. You will need to have a basic idea about using the internet device to reach an online therapy. Many people are not knowledgeable about using the internet to find online therapy.
Lack of response in an emergency: It is difficult and sometimes impossible to respond quickly as the therapists are distant from the client. They also have to follow a process. You can’t just consult with your therapist whenever you want all the time.
May not be suitable for serious psychiatric illness: Online therapy may not work if you need close and direct treatment or in-person intervention.
Overlooks body language: Even if you take online therapy through video calling, it is difficult for the psychiatrist to examine the patient’s body language.
Privacy and unreliability: As you have to complete the whole process online, there is a slight possibility of personal data leakage. Many find online therapy unreliable too.
Online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy. Of course, there may be some limitations for someone. But the advantages are many. You have to decide which one will work for you depending on your condition. But if online therapy is not working for you, you must meet a therapist in person.