Online counseling services, also known as E-Therapy, E-Counseling, Video Counseling, Virtual Counseling/Therapy, or Tele-Mental health services, have dramatically increased since COVID-19 began running rampant in the United States.
Regardless of the term used to describe behavioral health services that take place using the internet, online counseling is similar to attending an in-person appointment in many respects.
Even still, research shows multiple benefits to those who utilize this high-tech health care treatment modality. Below are five benefits of online therapy.
Convenient: Persons who; live in remote areas, are home-bound, or lack reliable access to transportation sometimes struggle to attend in-person appointments from a logistical standpoint.
People with the above challenges are often more motivated to participate in behavioral health services online because they do not have to figure out how they will physically get to their appointment. The same is true for persons with busy schedules outside the home.
Physical Comfort: There is much to be said about the benefits of physical comfort in counseling. Being in a familiar environment (like the comfort of one's home) can increase the feeling of safety.
Heightened feelings of safety increase the likelihood of being more open and talkative to one's therapist. The more information a therapist has about their client's symptoms, the better care, and treatment they can expect to receive.
Psychological Comfort: For those who continue to feel stigmatized by mental health or substance abuse issues, online therapy can be a good alternative to in-person services.
Online therapy can help eliminate the often self-perceived social stigma related to receiving help for a mental health or substance use issue.
Increased Privacy- Receiving counseling services online eliminates fears of running into others in the therapy office's waiting area. Running into colleagues, friends, or neighbors can be a legitimate concern for persons residing in smaller communities or rural areas. Another benefit of online counseling is the increased confidentiality level due to encrypted online platforms used by many licensed therapists, such as Theranest.
Compelling- studies show online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy. Research consistently shows that online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy. Here are two notable studies.
The Journal of Psychological Disorders published a study in 2018 which found that online cognitive behavioral therapy was equally effective compared to face-to-face treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and major depression.
In 2014, the Journal of Affective Disorders published a study that found that online treatment for depression was just as effective as face-to-face treatment for depression.
Give Online Counseling a Try
In the age of social distancing, no one needs to go through tough times alone. If you are struggling with mental health or substance use issues and think you're ready to give online counseling a try, just go for it. At the end of the day, you won't know if online counseling is right for you until you try it.
Misti Luke is a licensed therapist in beautiful Broken Bow Oklahoma, where she maintains a small private counseling practice. Misti provides online treatment (Oklahoma residents only) for a wide array of mental health and substance use disorders. To learn more about online counseling and assessments with Misti click here. For correspondence email firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The content contained in this blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or behavioral health treatment, nor should it be used to diagnose yourself or anyone else. Correspondence with the author of this article does not constitute a professional, therapeutic relationship. If you are in emotional distress or are unable to keep yourself safe, dial 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.