This article will explore the reasons why online therapy can work and be as effective as in person therapy. The article will also explain the concept of online therapy in order for the audience to develop a better understanding of the topic. Furthermore, the article will highlight when online therapy may not be effective.
Can Online Therapy Work?
Yes online therapy can work and be as effective as in person therapy! The article will use the following arguments to prove the aforementioned:
- Benefits of Online Therapy
- Disadvantages of the Alternative
We will look at each argument in detail however, let us first take a look at what exactly is online therapy!
What Is Online Therapy?
Simple. Online therapy is therapy online! Counseling sessions are arranged between the counselor and counselee online with the same aims and objectives however there are some differences. These services are to considerable extent customizable; people can opt for chatting, calling or video calling their therapist based on their comfort level and how much they want to reveal their identity.
Furthermore, online therapy is often used by people from all over the world; this means that the panel of counselors, therapists and psychologists will be dealing with people of diverse backgrounds hence they need to be flexible, understanding and sensitive to cultural differences. Most of the time, pairing is done on the counselor and counselee which may not happen in the traditional setting. However, formalities like getting yourself registered using your full name and other details is not done here – usually because of privacy reasons.
Online therapy is just like in person therapy but oftentimes way more convenient. It involves the counselor and counselee where the counselee requires assistance in terms of their mental health, daily problems they face or problems in their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. The counselor must understand the situation and issues of the individual as well the individual’s personality and determine how to guide them in the best way possible.
So, it is clear the two types of counseling mediums are not much different from each other; both have the same goals and aims but one is quite accessible and convenient to use – customizable as well!
However, some people claim that online therapy is not as effective as in person therapy! We will look at the reasons why in the next section!
The Claims Against Online Therapy – Why It Can’t Work!
Here are the claims against online therapy:
- Lack of Human Interaction
- Insufficient Information Available to Counselor
- Therapy Restricted to Words
One cannot rule out these claims. Yes, online sessions have reduced human interaction which may increase the quality of service and help the counselee more. Furthermore, the therapist does not have access to important information he or she can collect during a physical sitting where he can observe the clients body language, way of speaking and overall personality; hence it may be more difficult to diagnose the true problem.
Also, online therapy is restricted to only talking; it is difficult to engage in activities that may go in the therapy session because apart from cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy also plays a huge role in improving one’s mental health.
Yet, it would be immature to throw away something as precious as online therapy sessions; the words here may seem exaggerated but they are not. The possibility of having online therapy sessions is a blessing to many people who may not have access to in person therapy due to different reasons. We will now take a look at why online therapy can actually work.
Why Online Therapy Actually Works!
A study found that online cognitive therapy was effective in treating anxiety disorders without any intervention from the traditional in person therapy. Not only was the treatment less costly but even after a year, follow ups showed that the effects of the therapy were long term. This study was published in 2014 in the Behaviour Research and Therapy journal.
In the same year but published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, another study found that online therapy was successful in treating depression and yielding the same results as in person therapy.
Benefits of Online Therapy
There are numerous benefits of online therapy that include:
- Cost Effective
- Time Saving
- People Less Hesitant
- Accessible for All
- No Waiting Rooms
- Numerous Services
The thing with face to face therapy sessions is that they are expensive most of the times when it comes to being compared with online therapy services! You can’t blame them because it is not easy setting up an office, paying for the utility bills and obviously the opportunity costs – if you worked from home maybe you could take up another job as well!
Yes having online therapy sessions saves time for both the counselor and counselee. It has been shown that counselors are able to see more clients online when compared to face to face sessions. Also, you don’t have to drive all the way to the clinic to see your doctor for your appointment – you can just have your session from home.
People Less Hesitant
Sometimes people do not want to reveal their identity for so many reasons; the problems or experiences they go through may not be acceptable according to their culture, religion or even modern day laws but they desperately need help. Hence, online therapy sessions provide the opportunity to stay hidden and get help without having to reveal their full identity.
Accessible for All
Imagine going through a major depressive order – you don’t feel like eating or getting out of bed and your therapist expects you to drive all the way down to the office. It is likely that you will skip your session. Also, there are many people who live in places where such services are not available on ground – the best option for them is availing online services for their mental health issues.
No Waiting Rooms
Although there should be no stigma attached to getting help for your mental health, people prefer to keep these issues at bay. They do not want others to know that they are struggling with their mental health and need assistance; until the time people begin to change their attitude towards mental health, we will face the issue of people being hesitant to come to the clinic for help.
When it comes to online therapy sessions, the client has little to fear. They won’t have to sit in a waiting room where others may judge them nor will they be stressed out because of the thought that someone they know may see them over there. In online therapy sessions, the client does not even have to give their real name – they can choose to use chatting to talk to the therapist if they are too cautious.
With this type of service, you can be creative – literally! Clients can choose whether they want to have their sessions through chatting or calls. They can also have video sessions with their therapists if they are comfortable enough. As we mentioned before, they don’t even have to reveal their true identity. The client has the option of getting help at any time of the day or night – when it comes to online services, most companies aim to provide 24/7 services.
An online platform allows people from different backgrounds and skills to come together which brings more power to the company. The client has many options to choose from; they might need services as a young person, adult or a representative of a minority! Clinics which operate as a brick and mortar company may not have specialized services available because of geographical boundaries.
Disadvantage of the Alternative
In person therapy does have some problems in the sense that it can be costly and many people are not able to avail it due to geographical limitations, cultural insensitivity, lack of services or inability to avail help due to a deteriorating mental condition – the reasons can be so many.
Also, the world is becoming a global village and people in a certain place can experience very different issues hence they need various types of services which a place may not provide. The biggest issue is that people do not want to be seen at such a place!
Online therapy solves the above problems and allows people to avail the services they need in a possible manner while taking into account their beliefs, fears and limitations.
The article highlighted the reasons why online therapy can work. Furthermore, it explained what online therapy is and discussed why it is a better option than in person therapy in many situations.