It may seem contradictory, but there are times when telephone therapy sessions are more useful and create a closer connection than video conferencing. While many psychologists and patients have adopted videoconferencing for psychological treatment, that option is not viable for everyone due to technological and access limitations or preference issues. Phone-only or audio-only therapy has strong evidence to support its effectiveness and should be considered a viable care option. However, audio-only therapy has some unique aspects that psychologists and patients should consider.
However, non-verbal information is not completely lost in the video format. Viewing a customer's environment with video can also provide additional non-verbal information, but a phone session would not have this advantage. Keeping your personal information private is a major concern in psychotherapy, but online treatment adds a layer of complexity. Confidentiality is as important in online therapy as it is in more traditional forms of treatment administration.
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 may require you to investigate the privacy policies of video and messaging platforms to protect your information. 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. Whether it's a phone therapy session or a video therapy session, sometimes that can mean getting out of the house, going for a walk, or hanging out on a park bench for a little privacy.
Many therapists, myself included, have been providing telephone and online therapy for some time, usually for special situations. 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. BetterHelp claims to have the largest catalog of therapists compared to other online therapy platforms. It may seem contradictory, but there are times when telephone therapy sessions are more useful and create a closer connection than videoconference therapy sessions.
Finally, as with all therapy services, the smart doctor will be aware of changes in reimbursement policies for telephone therapy services. These sessions are conducted in real time and may be more personal than phone calls or text-message-based online therapy.