Virtual Therapy: Does it Work?

by Staff

Nowadays, with just one click and a light tap of a mobile application,  one can enjoy affordable and instant access to a therapist for a counseling session, also known as telecounseling. Today’s technology has greatly improved and was modified to suit the taste of the people who need therapy access online. The internet is now a convenient tool for searching for mental health help.


Before you start chatting or speaking to a counselor online, there are essential points that you have to consider about telecounseling.


What the Science Says

The drawbacks of e-therapy are that it doesn’t give the psychologists a chance to observe the tone of voice, body language, and overall demeanor, which are essential to assess a patient and their well-being fully.


The primary component of effective therapy is the relationship between the patient and the therapist. Online treatment is often impersonal and sometimes anonymous. Despite the concerns about the effectiveness of e-therapy, numerous studies support e-therapy.


In a 2018 study with Andrews as the lead researcher, they found that cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective, practical, and acceptable health care. Researchers found both therapies to be adequate for treating major disorders such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, etc.


Benefits of Online Therapy

To learn about virtual therapy and if it’s effective, read on the following benefits of e-therapy.


It’s comfortable for most people.

Undoubtedly, many individuals use technology nowadays, even boomers! More and more people are communicating through email, text messaging, webinars, messaging applications, etc.


Communicating with people through a virtual setup can seem more comfortable and more manageable than talking to someone in person, especially when revealing private and intimate details about themselves. Individuals who use their mobile phones a significant time of their day, like younger adults, prefer e-counseling since it’s comfortable for them.


The proliferation of e-counseling is just one of the many effects of technology in the healthcare sector. There are now websites like Buzzrx Blog that provide prescription discounts, insurance, and other valuable information related to health. In addition to what the psychologist told you, it’s helpful to also read up on ways that you can improve your well-being.


It’s convenient.

You wouldn’t need to travel many miles to meet up with your psychologist or therapist since you can now do it online. You would have to dial a number or log in to the website, and you can start the session when you’re comfortable.


It’s affordable.

Compared to traditional in-person therapy, e-therapy appears to be more affordable. It’s because, in telecounseling, some applications would offer pricing that provides unlimited use for a monthly or weekly fee. Suppose your health insurance doesn’t cover e-therapy. In that case, you can still experience an affordable price because of the discounts you can take advantage of.


It gives access to those in rural areas.

The nearest psychologist’s office may be an hour or three drive away in some rural areas. People with severe mental health issues and chronic illness, and disabilities may not have the capacity to drive themselves personally to their psychologists’ office. Thus, having a telephone-based therapy or a website-based therapy is helpful since it gives them an efficient option.


It’s a better option for people diagnosed with social anxiety.

According to the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria, individuals diagnosed with social anxiety disorder experience persistent and intense fear about specific social situations. People with this disorder will avoid anxiety-provoking social problems as best as possible.


Undoubtedly, if a person with this disorder would have to wait in a waiting room full of people, it would cause them excessive anxiety just sitting in the situation. At first, depending on the therapy that a psychologist has in store for a patient, a psychologist would first try not to expose the patient to a highly anxiety-provoking situation.


Thus, having the option to do their counseling therapy through a virtual platform would be extremely helpful and efficient for a patient with this disorder.


Potential Drawbacks of Virtual Therapy

Now that you’ve learned about the advantages of e-therapy, it’s time to learn about its drawbacks.


There may be some disorders that aren’t compatible with e-therapy.

People with suicidal intent or ideation, or psychosis needs immediate prevention and counseling that would be much better to tackle in an in-person therapy. It’s because individuals with suicidal ideation can be dangerous themselves.


Some therapists may not be licensed to practice.

This section is something that patients have to check to ensure that they’re not risking their personal information and time with an unlicensed mental health provider. Avoid partaking in any business with these people to ensure your safety as a patient.


Technological barriers can be an issue.

Internet connectivity can be an issue in telecounseling. There is also a possibility that a patient drops the call, the chats won’t be accessible, or the video will freeze. Indeed there are these things that can prohibit successful counseling.


Final Thoughts

With the recent surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were forced to stay at home and miss their appointment with their psychologists. Thankfully, teletherapy has been around since the 1990s in the United States. People can converse with their therapists online through call or chat. Helping millions of people get the help they need for their mental wellness.

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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