Is Online Therapy Effective?

A therapist provides psychological advice to make you feel better. A therapist is someone you should be comfortable with. The demand for therapists is high now. But for many people, going to a therapist means traveling for long hours. Nowadays you will find online therapy. It's a great way to cut down on the travel time and cost during therapy sessions..  But is online therapy effective? Research shows that online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy.

What is online therapy?

Online therapy is also known as e-therapy or teletherapy. It is something new in the field of mental health. Online therapy can be done through video conferencing, email, messaging, etc. The therapists provide guidance and support to people through online communication. Many online therapists call themselves 'life coaches' as they deal with life, relationship, and work-related emotional problems with their clients.  Studies have proven that online therapy is a good alternative to office therapy or in-person therapy.

Benefits of online therapy

You can now get access to a therapist by clicking a mouse or tapping an app. Online counseling allows you to access therapy from the comfort of your home. Here are the major benefits of online therapy:

  • You can access many professional therapists online. You can easily find a therapist of your choice and book a preferable session with the therapist.  You can narrow down your search for therapists and choose someone that meets your needs.
  • Communication is easy in online therapy. Videoconference, telephone, chat room, etc. are used in an online therapy session. You can also talk to the therapist just by clicking a button. You can also leave a message at any time of the day.
  • Therapists are in high demand. When you visit a therapist in person, you may have to make an appointment. Getting an appointment can be a hassle. In the case of online therapy, you don’t need to wait to get an appointment. You can find a suitable slot for yourself easily.
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    Sometimes people who have psychological disorder may feel reluctant to meet a therapist in person. Some people also find it difficult to open up with the therapist in a face-to-face meeting. Online therapy allows the person to open up to the therapist and speak freely.
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    No insurance is needed to use online therapy.
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    It is more affordable than in-person therapy.
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    You don’t need to travel long distances to meet the therapist. This will cut down your travel cost and time. People living in remote locations can also get access to a good therapist.

Is online therapy effective?

Many studies have found out that online therapy is effective. However, it may not be effective for all kinds of mental disorders. For example, online cognitive behavioral therapy is as good as it is face-to-face for certain health conditions. Obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are also more effective online than face-to-face. So, online therapy seems promising. Online therapy is very effective in treating anxiety, depression, and stress.

Two studies were done recently suggest that online therapy is effective in treating mental health issues. In one of the studies, online cognitive behavioral therapy had been conducted. This technique reduces negative thoughts. It was found the online therapy can reduce symptoms of mental health issues.

When is online therapy not effective?

Online therapy may not be the right choice for everyone. It depends on the type of therapy you are seeking. For example, if you feel uneasy inside elevators, then your therapist may suggest ‘exposure therapy’ to reduce the level of your uneasiness. The therapist may want to take you on different elevators in person so that you feel more positive about using the elevator. This type of intensive, in-person therapy won’t be possible online.

Online therapy is less appropriate for severe forms of mental illness, like psychosis. However, researchers are coming up with new ways to deal with this problem online as well. Some therapists now use iPads to access website resources even within face-to-face therapy to treat people with psychosis. Soon, online therapy will be possible for treating such a case.

It is found that online therapy is less effective in treating problems that are largely physical. However, physical conditions like cancer have a psychological impact on the patient. So, online therapy can be effective in this case to help people suffering from cancer to cope up with the disease and treatment.

New technologies are coming up to make online therapy more effective. Talkspace is a new technology that carries out therapy through messaging the therapist.

Conclusion

In America, about one in five people have mental illness every year. The security of online therapy is a concern for many people. But some sites offer a high level of security for this type of services. The online therapy is now more regulated. The online therapists are encouraged to protect the clients’ data and also learn the international laws regarding it.

If you decide to go for online therapy, you should first find a licensed therapist online. You should select your password for the site carefully. You must ensure that you have a strong firewall program so that there is less chance of data hacking. You can use document encryption software for better protection. Thousands of people are now taking advantage of online therapy for treating certain mental illnesses. You will also find some good results from online therapy sessions.

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