What is Online Therapy?
(also called e-therapy, e-counselling, web therapy, telepsychology etc.)
Therapy (also called psychotherapy or counselling), is the process of meeting with a therapist (usually once a week) to resolve problematic behaviours, beliefs, feelings, relationship issues, and/or somatic responses you might be experiencing.
The difference between traditional therapy and online therapy is mainly the distance between therapist and a client: you can meet a therapist in person in his office or you can attend sessions from your own location using the internet. Both ways provide mental support in a safe environment, assure confidentiality, non-judgement and focus on the client’s wellbeing.
Online therapy is becoming more popular because it offers the same benefits as traditional therapy while adding in the convenience factor. Studies have shown that e-therapy has a positive and long-lasting effect on wellbeing and it is as effective as in-office therapy including treatments for depression, stress and anxiety, anger management, panic attacks, trauma, grief and many more.
There are many physical services being replaced with digital alternatives that can save time for customers. The same trend is seen in providing therapy and counselling. Online therapy and counselling are more accessible, therefore helping many people to connect with a licenced and experienced therapist and to receive help and support otherwise not available to them.
Some most common reasons why people choose online therapy and counselling are:
Convenience – Online therapy eliminates the hassle of travelling to an office because you can access it wherever you have an internet connection. You can attend sessions from the comfort of your own home and it also offers flexible times so you can make your appointments without missing work or school.
Confidentiality – people often worry they might run into someone they know when travelling to a therapist office. As you are able to arrange your own place and time for online therapy, this fear no longer applies which already reduces the stress. Similarly, if you choose, you can remain anonymous to increase your safety.
Lower costs – some of the costs of running a therapist office do not apply to online counselling, therefore a price for a session is usually lower. This makes online therapy affordable and accessible to more people. Therapists often offer a free consultation which gives you an opportunity to see if online therapy is for you before committing to further sessions.
Location and disabilities – for people living or moving to rural areas and with limited access to large cities it is more difficult to find a licenced professional in the area. Online therapy provides contact with a variety of therapists and counsellors no matter your physical location. For people with disabilities visiting therapist’s office can also be difficult and they would often need to engage others. It is a big advantage to be able to attend sessions from their home.
Communication difficulties – people express their emotions in different ways and it is not always easy to talk openly and honestly sitting in a therapist’s office. People with high anxiety, for example, might find it difficult to meet face-to-face with a stranger. Online services provide a range of different forms of therapy to choose from to decrease levels of stress and make sharing your feelings more comfortable.
The choice of online therapy depends on individual preferences, mental state and situation. Here are some factors to consider:
- If you have severe mental health issues, online therapy alone will probably not provide you with enough support although it can serve as an additional help.
- Are you comfortable around others? If meeting strangers makes you nervous, choosing online therapy might help you feel safe due to the distance between you and a therapist.
- Do you have a busy daily schedule? Talking to a therapist online will save you time and give you more flexibility in arranging sessions.
- How do you feel about your own privacy? You might not want to share what is bothering you with others to avoid uncomfortable questions. Choosing your own location for therapy gives you this opportunity as well as staying anonymous.
- Do you feel you need help right away? Finding a therapist through your healthcare provider might mean being put on a long waiting list. You can connect with a therapist within minutes online.
- What is your financial situation? Prices for online therapy vary but online sessions are usually cheaper than sessions in an office. Try a free, non-obligatory session which will allow you to decide if online therapy is for you.