Are you dealing with extra stress or anxiety? Perhaps you are having more trouble sleeping these days. Maybe you’re intrigued by online therapy, but you are not sure if it’s right for you.
One of the positives that emerged from COVID-19 is that online therapy has become more accepted and more accessible. And for many types of psychotherapy, therapy online can be as effective as in-person treatment. You might feel skeptical about engaging in online counseling. Here are some reasons why online therapy may actually work better than in-person treatment.
Easier to Access
As therapists have transitioned their practices online, many are noticing fewer canceled or missed sessions, as well as fewer no-shows. It can be easier to attend a therapy session if you don’t have to leave home, particularly if you’re juggling multiple responsibilities.
In-person sessions can be challenging to fit into a busy schedule. Commuting to sessions, waiting in traffic, and looking for parking, aren’t factors with online therapy. With teletherapy, there is less time and stress involved in sessions. Also, people in rural areas or clients with mobility issues can have access to therapy, that they may not have had before.
As the pandemic continues, online therapy provides a safe and effective option.
Another benefit of online therapy is that it presents the opportunity to see inside client’s homes and have a glimpse into their routines and environment. This allows therapists to gain a deeper understanding of their client’s circumstances. This can be particularly helpful for behavioral therapy when therapists are assessing how behaviors and lifestyle factors impact mental health.
Telehealth visits can make clients feel safe, allowing them to be comfortable in their home environment and possibly share more openly. If it has felt hard to relax in a therapist’s office in the past, online therapy at home may be worth a try.
The widespread availability of online therapy can help to reduce stigma around accessing mental health. Receiving therapy online can feel less intimidating and more private for some people. Clients may be fearful of seeing people they know in a therapy waiting room or in their therapist’s area. This can create a barrier for some to access in-person therapy and in some cases, cause avoidance of getting help.
With online therapy, no one has to know that you are receiving treatment. Online counseling can bring people to therapy who would otherwise not go. Particularly with younger generations, who are used to interacting through technology, online therapy may help normalize the practice of getting help. If more people are seeking therapy, hopefully, the stigma around receiving mental health care will be reduced even further.
Online therapy may help ease stigma, but is it as effective?
What the Science Says
Research consistently shows that online treatment can be very helpful for a variety of mental health issues.
Prior to COVID-19, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders found that online CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is equally as helpful as in-person treatment and is “effective, acceptable and practical health care.”
Other studies show similar or even more compelling results. A 2020 review of 17 studies found that electronically-delivered CBT (eCBT) was actually more effective than face-to-face CBT in reducing symptoms of depression. If you are concerned that online therapy won’t work as well for you, the research shows that may be worth reconsidering.
What This Means for You
During this unprecedented time, we need therapy now more than ever. Anxiety, depression, insomnia, and symptoms of trauma are becoming more prevalent. Online therapy can provide a safe, accessible option for people to have a consistent connection in their life. If you are interested in trying online therapy, please contact us for a free consultation.
Annie Miller is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in the Washington DC area. Annie specializes in working with insomnia (CBT-i), trauma (EMDR), teen mental health, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain. Interested in learning more about Online Therapy? Check out DC Metro Sleep and Psychotherapy’s Online Therapy Page.