Online Therapy VS In-Person Therapy: Does the effectiveness differ?

Do you feel like every day that passes by has become more unpredictable since the pandemic began? Usually, we used to be able to plan and predict how our days would pass by as soon as we wake up. The unpredictability and anxiety about the future that came with the onset of the pandemic shifted the focus on mental health along with physical health. It really made us all question our own state of mind.

 The pandemic has tested the resilience of every individual and even if there is nothing substantially wrong with one’s life, sometimes they just need direction. To deal with all of these circumstances, counseling has proved to be a very viable solution. The need for therapy has increased due to the increasing number of households going through mental health crises such as anxiety, depression, burnout, etc and since people are starting to realize just how important their mental and emotional well-being is, the stigma around therapy and mental health is slowly starting to fade. 

Our ways of communication have been limited to smartphones, tablets, computers and the internet in the past two years. With no ways of physical, in-person communication, a lot of people have opened up to the idea of online counseling and therapy. However, they still question the efficiency of online therapy in comparison with in-person therapy. 

What exactly is online therapy?

Psychotherapy or counseling services delivered over the internet are referred to as online therapy. Online therapy, unlike in-person therapy, allows you to communicate with a qualified therapist or counselor from any device with an internet connection, such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone. It entails completing a structured, online program based on mainstream, evidence-based psychological treatment procedures, just as you would with in-person counseling.

A lot of recent research has suggested that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. More recent research, published in March 2020 in the Journal of Affective Disorders, looked at the differences in interaction quality between face-to-face and telephone counseling. There was minimal difference in how effective the therapy relationship was, how much clients revealed, or degrees of empathy, attentiveness, and engagement, according to the study.

 

The effectiveness of online therapy also considers factors such as:

Equally Effective

Online therapy is just as effective in regards to methods of communication for various mental health concerns. Anxiety, stress, and depression can all be treated online, according to the evidence. According to research, online therapy, which includes email and video conferencing, can lead to client satisfaction with both the therapy and the quality of their relationship with the therapist that is comparable to face-to-face therapy.

Easy Accessibility

Accessible to people in remote areas. People in rural or remote places can get mental health care through online counseling. Because there are few or no mental health practices in rural areas, those who reside there may not have access to any other sort of mental health therapy. Individuals who use online therapy can begin a session or continue communication with their therapist at any time and from any location where they have access to the internet. It also saves time to commute for appointments, especially for people who have to travel long distances.

Convenient And Cost-Effective

It is convenient and cost-effective. Online therapy is usually cheaper than in-person or traditional therapy because it is being delivered to an individual at the comfort of their own homes. Being in a familiar setting also potentially enhances the individual’s willingness to vulnerability and disclosure. Therapists that treat patients exclusively online are likely to have lower overhead expenditures, such as office rent. As a result, for those who do not have health insurance, online therapists can often provide reasonable treatment options.

More Approachable

The internet has made online therapy more approachable as for someone who is nervous to go for an in-person session or doesn’t have a lot of time in their hands, online counseling works best. According to studies, internet therapy takes 7.8 times less time than face-to-face therapy, which means therapists may treat more people online than in person. Clients do not have to be concerned about seeing familiar faces in the waiting room. When people share private information online, it can be easier for them to divulge it. Anxiety sufferers, particularly those with social anxiety, are more likely to seek help from an online therapist.

Confidentiality Is Maintained

Just like any other counselling session, the therapist makes sure that one’s confidentiality is maintained throughout the process. It allows clients to open up more freely and choose from a bigger pool of counsellors, ensuring that they find one who is best suited to their requirements. It allows clients to remain anonymous and keep their counselling experience secret if they so wish.

Online therapy can be a good and convenient approach to getting mental health help. Your condition and the severity of your symptoms will determine whether or not internet therapy is right for you. If you want to pursue internet counseling, do some research before deciding on a provider. It can take some time to find the appropriate online therapist, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step.” – Naeem Callaway  

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