Pros and Cons of Online Therapy
Pros and Cons of Online Therapy:
As many practices have been forced to move their services onto the internet, including ourselves, we decided to look at the advantages and disadvantages, so clients know what to expect if they want to make the transition to online therapy.
More time efficient- Taking the lengthy commute clients may have to take to a therapist’s office out of the equation means that a client only has to commit the exact time booked for a session out of their daily schedule. This is much more convenient for clients as none of their time is being wasted on travel.
Online therapy can help clients who may be experiencing stigma- For clients that may feel the stigma around going to therapy is preventing them from visiting a therapy centre in person, online counselling is a great option. It reduces any anxiety they may feel about being spotted going in or out of a therapy centre in their area.
Some forms of online therapy can provide client anonymity- some text based online therapeutic services can provide clients with anonymity which they may be seeking if their issues are particularly sensitive. Although of course all reputable forms of online therapy will abide by the laws around client confidentiality.
Comfort to speak freely- Users of online therapy have said that they feel more at ease in their own homes and therefore feel more comfortable disclosing personal issues than they would face to face in a therapy centre.
Online sessions can be just as deep and meaningful- A recent study that compared the effectiveness of online therapy to face to face therapy have found that the online sessions had just as significant an emotional impact on clients. They also found that the therapeutic relationship was just as strong in both settings.
Access to a wider range of therapists- It is easier for clients to shop around for a therapist that suits their needs as they are not constrained by their geographical location.
Accessible for those who may have physical disabilities- Online therapy is a great option for anyone whose movements may be limited due to a physical impairment as they
Lack of physical presence- Therapists may miss out on physical cues even and body language that they would have relied on in face to face sessions to gauge how their clients were feeling/ responding to the therapy. Video calls can provide a clearer view of the situation, but they often lack the intimacy that real-world interactions possess.
Unreliability of Technology- For those who may not have access to the strongest internet connection, their experience with online therapy may not run as smoothly as others. Technical difficulties may interrupt sessions which of course could get in the way of a client getting the most out of their time with a therapist.
Online Therapy Is Not Appropriate for Those with Serious Psychiatric Illnesses- Online therapy can be useful for a variety of situations but has not been found to be suitable when it comes to more serious psychiatric illnesses that require close and direct treatment.
Ethical and Legal Concerns- As clients have access to therapists all over the globe it is difficult to ensure the counselling you are receiving is up to a good legal and ethical standard. This is why it is best to do a background check on any services you decide to use and preferably stick to a therapist in your own country for legal reasons.
Gupta, A., & Agrawal, A. (2012). Internet counselling and psychological services. Social Science International, 28(1), 105.
Richards, D. (2009). Features and benefits of online counselling: Trinity College online mental health community. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 37(3), 231-242.
American Psychological Association. Practicing distance therapy, legally and ethically. By Tori DeAngelis. Monitor on Psychology. March 2012;43(3):52. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/03/virtual
Kocsis BJ, Yellowlees P. Telepsychotherapy and the Therapeutic Relationship: Principles, Advantages, and Case Examples. Telemed J E Health. 2018;24(5):329-334. doi:10.1089/tmj.2017.0088