Therapy is traditionally a process where the patient and therapist meet in person. Today, however, online therapy is becoming popular. Consulting a therapist online has certain advantages over traditional therapy. It’s convenient and usually less costly than seeing a therapist in person. On the other hand, patients don’t get the same degree of personal contact as when they’re in the same room as the therapist. There are certain situations, however, when online therapy is especially helpful to patients.
When Patients Have Extreme Social Anxiety
People who have extreme difficulty in communicating may find in-person sessions too stressful. They may find it easier to talk to someone online. For patients who have difficult making eye contact, it’s less threatening to talk to someone on the internet. Because of technological tools, it may be possible to gradually increase the patient’s comfort level. For example, someone may start out talking to a therapist via messaging but may eventually be able to use a platform such as Skype, where patient and therapist actually see one another.
Patients Who Have Difficulty Traveling
Not all patients are able to visit a therapist in person. Some people live in remote areas and don’t have the time or financial resources to travel. If someone lives more than an hour from a therapist’s office, a visit ends up taking up half a day. For poor people or anyone with a busy schedule, this is not practical. Physically disabled patients may not be able to get to the therapist’s office. Online therapy is accessible to more people, allowing anyone with an internet connection to receive help.
When Patients Can’t Afford Traditional Therapy
Therapy is often quite expensive. Not all patients have insurance that covers therapy. The costs of online therapy are often significantly lower than office visits. Therapists who work online save money on expenses such as renting an office and hiring a staff. This allows them to charge less for sessions, making treatment affordable to more people.
For Patients Who Need Privacy
Some people feel that seeking help is a sign of weakness. They may worry what their family, friends or co-workers will think. They may even feel self-conscious about sitting in a therapist’s waiting room. This is especially true for patients who are seeking help with an issue that makes them feel ashamed. For such people, online therapy is an alternative that allows them to maintain their privacy.
These are some of the instances in which online therapy is a good alternative to visiting a therapist in person. Online therapy isn’t necessarily ideal for everyone. However, in some cases it makes help available to people who otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t receive it.