Research has found that online therapy can be effective in treating anxiety, depression and trauma. There is no difference in patient satisfaction depending on whether therapy is performed online or in person, and for either of the two methods of receiving therapy, the results are better as a person attends more sessions. Online therapy can be an effective and convenient way to access mental health services. But that doesn't mean it's right for everyone.
Whether or not online therapy is right for you depends on your condition and the severity of your symptoms. This type of online therapy is basically the same as regular therapy, except that it happens online rather than in an office. Sessions usually last an hour and can take place weekly or as often as you and your therapist decide. In between sessions, you may have limited contact with your therapist via text and email.
Or, you may just have to wait until your next session, unless you are in crisis. As you can see, online therapy, like traditional therapy, is imperfect. Is it better or worse than face-to-face therapy? I would say it depends on perception. But it does appear to be effective for a certain subset of the population (people who are not suicidal or people who are not in the midst of a major crisis requiring more intensive intervention).
While online therapy is a much newer form of therapy, current evidence suggests that for many people it can be as effective as face-to-face therapy. Talking from the safety of your own home can even make it easier for you to open up about your problems. Online therapy also allows you to reach a qualified specialist from anywhere in the world, while avoiding the expense, travel time and hassle of having to meet in person. Another literature review of studies on CBT online found that it leads to a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Online CBT was also found to be as effective as face-to-face therapy in treating panic disorder. Online CBT was also significantly effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobia. Therapists can offer virtual options directly through their personal practice. Online platforms also provide opportunities for people to connect with therapists within their networks.
Virtual therapy seems as effective as face-to-face therapy in addressing mental health needs. The drawbacks of online therapy include ambient noise (especially since many therapists and clients are currently attending sessions from home), technological problems, and lack of non-verbal communication. Some online therapy services even offer free tests so you can test interaction with a therapist to help determine if it's right for you. In addition to the importance of face-to-face interaction, there are other aspects to consider when comparing online therapy with face-to-face therapy.
Some people may feel more comfortable undergoing therapy in a digital environment, especially younger people who are more familiar with these methods of communication, but other therapists and patients alike may take more advantage of therapy that uses more direct human contact. Confidentiality is as important in online therapy as it is in more traditional forms of treatment administration. Finally, as a consumer, in some cases it can be difficult to know if an online therapy service is credible, reliable or safe to use. Online therapy is the provision of professional mental health counseling over the Internet, usually through live video chat, messaging app, email or by phone.
Hosted by editor-in-chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares the pros and cons of online therapy. Online therapy removes geographical restrictions, making it difficult to enforce legal and ethical codes. Online and in-person therapy options allow more people to access mental health care than ever before. Unlike face-to-face therapy, online therapy allows you to connect with a licensed therapist or counselor using any device that has an internet connection, such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
In fact, people often tell me that their online experience has been more satisfying than their previous in-person therapy. However, another review of 19 studies found that online CBT was superior to placebo and on the waiting list, and as effective as face-to-face therapy for the treatment of anxiety. Online therapy may require you to investigate the privacy policies of video and messaging platforms to protect your information. Become an informed consumer of telepsychology services, learn the factors to consider when considering online therapy, and explore additional resources.
You don't have to have a clinically diagnosed condition to benefit from talking to a professional, and online therapy can provide you with an easy way to get started. . .