The year 2020 has been hard on everyone. A global pandemic, lockdown, demise of hundreds of people around the world, floods, and whatnot. These hard times have undeniably taken a toll on our mental health. While going to a therapist is both risky and impossible, online therapy is the new normal.
Technological advancements have made it possible for us to stay connected to people around the world – keeping us sane by getting on a video call or text conversations. In the same manner, a client and therapist can engage in therapy together virtually regardless of the physical distance.
Ever since the pandemic hit, therapists have tried to extend a helping hand to their patients by going online, making it easier for people to cope with their problem without having to skip on their therapy sessions. Our feelings and thoughts have gone into overdrive during the lockdown and without the help, it can get overwhelming.
Pros and Cons Of Online Therapy
- Online therapy is easily accessible for people living in remote areas. Some geographical areas don’t have easy access to mental health practitioners. The availability of therapists online allows them to seek help which, in normal circumstances, is difficult to access.
- In these hard times, the availability of online therapy works as a ray of hope. For differently-abled folks and people suffering from mental health issues, there is a source to rely on. A confidant.
- One can schedule appointments on their preferred time in the comfort of their homes without having to risk their and their loved ones’ lives.
- Studies find that individuals with anxiety, especially social anxiety, are more likely to reach out to an online therapist.
- Generally, online therapy is less expensive than traditional in-office therapy sessions.
- Mental Health practitioners have an ethical responsibility to protect and maintain the confidentiality of their clients. With online therapy, the security of the client’s records and information could be easily jeopardized and confidentiality is at greater risk of being inappropriately breached. Like the recent case of Zoom’s security breach.
- Cues like eye contact, body language, etc are an important part of therapy. The availability of these cues is absent in online therapy sessions which may mislead the therapist in understanding the situation of the patient.
- People looking out for online therapy usually have no surety about the qualification of the therapist they are seeking help from. This might expose the clients to exploitation and ill-treatment and also wastage of money. Thus, referring to online help sources like BetterHelp becomes important.
Both online therapy and traditional therapy have their flaws. But in this time of distress, virtual therapy is as important as traditional therapy. With growing technology, the online sessions would gradually get better as they have progressed until now.
Where To Find The Right Therapist?
Online therapy providers like BetterHelp provide safe online therapy at affordable prices. In platforms like BetterHelp, you are asked to fill out a questionnaire and will then be matched with a counsellor, who can help you navigate any situation you’re going through.
Services like video chats, phone therapy, live chats, audio messaging, text messaging are a part of therapy.
How To Make The Most Out Of Your Online Therapy Sessions
1. Be Honest
As I mentioned above, bodily cues are unavailable in online counselling. Try being honest and express whatever you are going through explicitly. By doing this, you’ll give your therapist a better insight into your current situation and eventually they would be able to help you better. Even if you feel you might sound silly, don’t worry. Talk. Taking care of your mental health is difficult but your one step would help your progress and peace of mind.
2. Give Your Therapist Honest Feedbacks
Since online therapy is not a very prevalent concept, many therapists are new to it. Your honest feedback would help them improve their treatment style for you and for everyone seeking help from them. It is important for you to understand the power of feedback and how they would help both of you better understand what works for you and what doesn’t.
3. Prepare Ahead Of Time
Since your therapy sessions would be online it is important for you to prepare beforehand so that you can make the most out of your scheduled time. Also, remember to choose the right time and a place where you can attend your session without disturbance or distractions
“Write down your questions and concerns ahead of time, just as you would do if you were going to see a therapist,” UNC Health psychiatrist Diana O. Perkins says. “Think about what you’re trying to get out of the session, which can help your practitioner.”
4. It might be Awkward But Be Patient
For anyone who is seeking therapy for the first time or from a new therapist, it is completely fine to feel awkward initially since opening up isn’t an easy thing. Take your time, be patient with yourself and your therapist. Be constant in your efforts. Somedays you might feel like quitting but remember progress lies just a few steps away.
Mental health is important and we need to protect our peace of mind more than anything right now. Since times are tough don’t shy away from seeking help. It is as important as our regular health checkups. Attending therapy is not embarrassing – it is just you caring for yourself. It’s normal.