Although online therapy has existed for years now, until a few months ago, not a lot of people chose it over face-to-face therapy. However, the pandemic-induced lockdown started a major trend that it seems is here to stay. With therapist offices closed, practitioners started to offer exclusively online services, proving not only that therapy can be successfully done remotely, but also that some patients may prefer it over the conventional option. Following this significant increase in telecounselling, more studies have been conducted to explore its benefits, and there has been a lot of news on the topic recently.
Before the pandemic, only a few practitioners included online therapy on their list of services. Now, studies paint a different picture. According to recent research by the Eindhoven University of Technology, which appeared in the news, the vast majority of practitioners have switched to online therapy, and the results were better than expected. Among the benefits the respondents cited were:
This study backs up the findings of a 2019 survey, which showed that the vast majority of patients agreed to the idea of online therapy because they didn’t have to drive down to the therapist’s office or risk social scrutiny.
Therapy is one of those fields that seems to work best face-to-face since that creates a closer connection between the therapist and the patient. However, the fact that this the way things have been done for ages doesn’t mean that online therapy is ineffective. On the contrary, the benefits of online therapy have been documented for years now. In fact, 92 studies among 9,000 clients have shown that teletherapy nurtures the name client-therapist relationship as face-to-face therapy. Just because the conversation takes place over a screen doesn’t mean that the practitioner is any less empathetic or qualified.
If you are considering having therapy and you’re not sure which option would be right for you, you should know that the answer may not be a matter of either/or. In fact, there is no right or wrong answer. Therapy is a deeply personal (and personalised!) experience, so you should choose whatever works for you and makes you feel comfortable:
Do you live in a remote area and would rather not drive across town to go to therapy?
Are you a stay-at-home parent or don’t have anyone to leave the kids with?
Do you have a medical condition that prevents you from leaving the house?
Do you want to avoid direct personal contact as much as possible during the pandemic?
Would you feel more comfortable discussing your concerns over the Internet instead of face-to-face?
Would you rather your friends and family didn’t know you’re seeing a therapist?
If you answered “yes” to either one of these questions, online therapy is an option worth considering. If you’re still not sure, you can always have a test session to see how it goes, or even combine online therapy with face-to-face therapy depending on your needs.