Currently, with the social distancing principle and quarantining due to COVID-19, it could be hard to access your mental health specialist. In fact, it could even prevent someone from deciding to consult when they really need to.
Fortunately, years of research has demonstrated that internet-based therapy is effective and can be a medium you choose in order to consult.
However, just as in any treatment, there are pros and cons to consider. This is no different when counselling from a distance.
If you are unsure about whether to try web-based therapy, here are some points you may wish to consider:
Benefits Of Remote Therapy
Availability of health resources: if you live far away in a rural area, a small town or up north, it is likely that you do not have many health resources at your disposal. With online therapy can now have access to a wide range of psychologists and therapists to help you.
Accessibility: if you have mobility issues, health problems or issues with transportation that impedes you from traveling to a professional’s office, remote therapy can remove this barrier so you get the help you need.
Some people with avoidance behaviours that makes it hard to be in public, such as panic disorder with agoraphobia and social anxiety, can now have access to much-needed services.
Affordability: web-based therapy can cut down on the costs of therapy related to traveling and commuting with public transportation so you can pocket the difference.
Convenience: etherapy takes place in the comfort of your in home so you choose the time and location to use in your own home.
You no longer have to spend time in a waiting room. There is no traveling back and forth from you home.
If you are traveling, you could even have the session in your car while you are parked or in your hotel if you have secure access to the internet.
If your schedule is busy, etherapy offers you more availability since it can be done from home.
Freedom of Choice: with therapy that takes place online, you now have access to a psychologist or therapist that did not have an office in your area, provided that they provide therapy at a distance.
Access to online therapy is a definite plus if you found a professional that you like and feel you can connect with and that you saw had many positive reviews. You can consult this guide to find the best online therapist that matches your needs.
Privacy: therapy will be more private since it is in the convenience of you own home. This can be especially helpful for people who are public figures and are afraid of being seen in a waiting room or coming out of a mental health office.
Reduced Stigma: despite our best efforts to de-stigmatize mental health, and we have come a long way, some people are still uncomfortable consulting even though they could benefit. Distance therapy that takes place in the comforts of your own home could help you seek the services that could be of benefit to you.
Online Comfort Effect: some people find it hard to be vulnerable in front of people. Interactions over the internet can help decrease inhibition so that you can open up and share private information more easily.
The Challenges of Online Therapy
Although there process to counselling online, here are some drawbacks and challenges of telehealth counselling you may want to consider.
Lack Of Personnel Connection: some people may not like consulting over the internet through a video camera and may prefer to be present in-person with a specialist. If you really like connecting with people face-to-face and feel this is a must, online therapy may not be for you.
You could nonetheless try one or two sessions to evaluate your comfort if you really feel the need to consult.
Technological Barriers: for therapy that takes place in an office, all you need to do is show up.
With web-based therapy, the logistics are complicated. You need to have access to a computer or smartphone, have access to a secure internet connection and ne able to use the same video platform as your therapist.
If you dislike using technology or have little experience with these technologies, consulting online may be difficulty.
There are also technological hurdles that can make web-based therapy hard: a bad internet connection, a blurry image on the video, bad lighting, inaudible sound or images that freeze up.
Missing Non-Verbal Cues: the majority of our communication happens non-verbally.
If the audio and video are not set up properly, important nuances in body posture, non-verbal gestures and changes in tone could be missed.
This is especially the case with psychologists that have just moved over to online therapy as a result of COVID-19. Make sure to select a psychologist that has experience providing therapy online. Simply ask them how many years they have been practicing therapy online.
Full Scrutiny Of The Professional: while at a distance from your therapist, it may initially hard to fully scrutinize the professional. For example, you may not see their degrees and license to practice psychotherapy on their wall.
Do your ‘due diligence’ in advance. Check out their website and see if they have any reviews on sites like RateMds and Google Reviews.
Make sure you are aware of the best practical guidelines for online therapy before you consult.
In summary, social distancing and quarantining does not mean we can no longer consult a psychologist or therapist. In fact we may need it now more than ever. If you are still not sure about whether inter-based therapy is for you, Contact Me to schedule a session or two and then decide.
If you would like to know more about remote therapy, make sure you read the FREE Guide on the ABCs of Online Therapy and Video Counselling.