Every once in a while life gets a bit overwhelming, and we feel the need to talk to someone. We want to vent, to feel understood, and we need help processing our feelings. As the stigma surrounding therapy has decreased considerably in recent years, we know that the most suitable person to talk to is a therapist.
Although we know this, we keep putting it off which is not at all unusual. Starting therapy comes with a certain degree of uncertainty and fear. How are we to talk about such personal issues with a complete stranger? And even though the stigma has decreased, it hasn’t disappeared completely.
Furthermore, many of us have extremely busy schedules. We work long hours, and we’re juggling a million other obligations. It’s hard to find the time to see a therapist once or twice every week.
Thankfully, advances in technology have made accessing mental health services much easier and online psychotherapy is not that much different from traditional face-to-face therapy. Online therapists need to have the same credentials and training, the sessions follow the same structure, have the same duration, and research shows that it’s just as effective.
What sets this form of therapy apart is the medium. Instead of being in the same room with your therapist, you communicate with them through video calls, audio calls, text messages, or you combine all three options. This distinction has some advantages which we’ll discuss below.
The biggest advantage of online therapy is how convenient it is. You are no longer limited by your geographical area. You could live in another country, in a remote area or travel frequently for work-related purposes – all you’ll need is a phone or a laptop and a stable internet connection. When these geographical limitations disappear, it also means that you’ll have more options when it comes to choosing the right therapist for you. Most reputable online therapy platforms have a substantial database of mental health professionals specialized in different forms of therapy that you can browse through, which makes it much easier to find a therapist that suits your preferences.
Let’s not forget that people with physical disabilities may find it harder to get to a therapist’s office even if they have a wide range of options in their area. Older adults might also have trouble commuting to a therapist office and may have to rely on family members and friends to drive them there. With online therapy, this is no longer an issue, and it’s also a great option of those with social anxiety and agoraphobia who might avoid getting the help they want because of their symptoms.
As we mentioned before, many of us have very busy schedules. Sometimes the problem isn’t that we can’t find a suitable therapist in our area; we simply don’t have the time for it. Again, online therapy makes things much easier. Since you don’t have to commute, you can schedule sessions in the morning, before going to work, during your lunch break, in the evening or on the weekend. Since you have a broader range of therapists you can work with, it’s much easier to find one whose schedule doesn’t clash with yours.