top of page

The Pros and Cons of Online Therapy: Navigating Therapy in the Digital Age

Representation of a woman seeking online therapy
Representation of a woman seeking online therapy

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The need and importance of mental health is more than ever in a society where it seems like our lives are going by more quickly than before. And guess what? With the advent of online therapy, the therapeutic landscape has also evolved. You may wonder then, what all the buzz is about. Imagine being in the cosiness of your own home, in your pyjamas, with a therapist at your fingertips. Yes, we are referring to online therapy sessions that take place in your favourite location, ‘on the couch’, at home, rather than in a traditional offline setting. It is like having a reliable confidante in your pocket.

Online therapy provides a distinctive, easily accessible, and somewhat contemporary approach to mental health, and that's exactly where it comes in. As more and more people are understanding the importance of mental well-being, the demand for online therapy has also picked up in the last few years. As we delve into the nuances of online therapy, grab a seat and prepare yourself for an immersive voyage into the world of pixels and emotions.

UNDERSTANDING ONLINE THERAPY

Now that we have covered the essentials, let's speak about online therapy: what is it and why is it so popular? Consider conventional therapy, what do you understand? You're expressing your innermost thoughts with the mental health professional seated across from you in a comfortable office. Now take that scene, add a dash of magic from the twenty-first century, and presto! You can get online therapy.

Getting your therapeutic fix via the wonders of the internet is what online therapy, sometimes referred to as teletherapy or e-counseling, is all about. Rather than meeting in person, you communicate with your therapist via heart-to-heart video conversations, or simply just hear their voice over the phone. It's similar to bringing the therapist's office to your favourite coffee shop or living room, depending on where you feel most comfortable.

This isn't a novel idea that appeared out of nowhere. For some time now, online therapy has been quietly gaining traction. With its adaptation to our hectic lifestyles, therapy is now more accessible than before. You won't need to worry about missing work, commuting, or adjusting your whole calendar. You get therapy in your own time, place, and according to your terms. So why did they go from the traditional couch to the digital one? Well, things happen in life, and sometimes it's just not possible to get to your therapist's office. Perhaps you're attempting to fit a therapy session in between work, family, and a side gig, and it feels impossible to fit a giraffe into a Mini Cooper.

Do these methods compare favourably to the conventional in-person therapy setting, one may wonder? The answer is unquestionably yes. Studies[1] have indicated that virtual counselling can be equally efficacious as in-person counselling. The connection and the readiness to grow and open up is what matters, not the environment. Online therapy is dismantling obstacles and making that progress more attainable than before. It's an advancement and a game-changer rather than a substitute for the traditional treatment vibe. So stay put if you're interested in giving it a try. We're only getting started on this journey of digital rehabilitation, but we assure you it will be an enjoyable one.

MODES OF ONLINE THERAPY: IDENTIFYING YOUR DIGITAL COMFORT ZONE

Now that we've established that internet therapy is the new, cool kid on the block, did you also know that it comes in a variety of flavours? Yes, there is something for everyone here.

Let's examine these modes of online therapy to help you identify your digital comfort zone.

1. Online Video Counselling from Website/App-Based Platforms: A Therapist in Your Pocket

Online video counselling is now your best option if you're missing the in-person connection but can't make it to a session. You get all of it: the facial emotions, body language, everything. It's like having a warm conversation by the fire, only without getting out of bed. Online video therapy is often considered the most effective type of internet therapy and is the closest to the traditional offline therapy process. There are applications and websites available for treatment, which function similarly to a counsellor that fits in your pocket. These platforms provide various services, such as interactive activities and mood tracking. It's a treatment that works with your schedule, and since we all carry our phones with us at all times, why not also carry a therapist? We, at MentAmigo[2], understand the need for the comfort and safe space that you may be looking for. Consider checking out our services and finding a therapist that’s right for you.

2. Telephone-Based/Audio Counselling: Mobile Counselling

Phone-based therapy is the way to go if you're camera-shy or prefer to keep things traditional. It's similar to sharing a sincere chat with a buddy, but this friend is an accomplished professional. You pick up the phone, have your session, and resume your normal activities. It is, in fact, mobile therapy. Your therapist is only a phone call away, whether you're delayed in traffic or meandering through a park.

3. Text-Based Counselling

Imagine having a heart-to-heart conversation with your therapist, only you're typing away. Therapy via text is similar to having a therapeutic pen-friend. You talk to your therapist, they answer, and suddenly it's like you're discussing without using your voice. If you're a wordsmith or just like to express yourself via writing, this is ideal for you. You also get access to a digital transcript of your sessions, similar to journaling with an instructor.

These are some of the most common modes of online therapy. You can choose from a variety of therapeutic choices, similar to a buffet, depending on your preferences. Whichever you decide on, the objective remains the same: to create an environment in which you may learn, explore, and work towards attaining your therapeutic goals. The world of digital healing is open to you - take a fork and start exploring!

THE EXPERTS BEHIND THE SCREEN: IMPORTANCE OF QUALIFICATIONS AND CREDENTIALS WHEN CONSIDERING ONLINE THERAPY

Certified counsellors and therapists work hard to obtain their degrees and credentials, and they often shed a tear or two along the way. They are more than just your typical advisors; they are mental health experts with the knowledge to help you navigate the whirlwind of your thoughts and emotions. But, in the evolving space of online therapy, there is also a risk of being tricked or falling prey to non-qualified professionals. This is why looking up and confirming your therapist's credentials is so important. It’s also important because:

  1. Expertise Matters: Your therapist's credentials are as necessary as hiking boots, for your mountain trek. You need a guide (a qualified professional) who can safely navigate the terrain, feel the weather (your emotions), and understand the weather (your thoughts). Verifying the credentials guarantees that you're in competent hands.

  2. Connection and Trust: Therapy is a two-way street. You want to trust the person on the other end because you are sharing personal information with them. Establishing qualifications contributes to that trust. It's similar to reviewing reviews before selecting a guide; you want someone trustworthy.

  3. Online Safety: Security is crucial in the digital sphere. In addition to treatment, certified therapists receive advanced training on the intricacies of establishing a safe online space. For your mental health, it's like having a GPS and guide that lets you know you're headed in the proper direction.

Hence give some thought to check and confirm before you embark on your online treatment journey. Seek out such credentials and qualifications and don’t be afraid to double-check, for starting.

ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE THERAPY

Let's now look at why online therapy might essentially be the superhero cape of mental well-being.

  1. Easy Accessibility: Online therapy allows individuals to access mental health services from anywhere with an internet connection. No matter where you are, consider online therapy to be as convenient as having your therapist on fast dial. Your therapist is only a click away from you, regardless of where you are, in a busy city or relaxing in a log cabin in the woods. Those who live in isolated or rural locations, where access to in-person therapy may be limited, can especially benefit from this.

  2. Convenience: You do realise that life is already somewhat of a juggling act? Online therapy gives you the convenience of scheduling a session according to your schedule. It's up to you whether you hold your session in your pyjamas after a demanding day or during your morning coffee break. No more worrying about cramming therapy sessions into your busy schedule.

  3. Flexibility: Depending on each individual’s comfort level and preferred mode of communication, online treatment offers the option to select between video sessions, phone conversations, or messaging. This adaptability may increase the attraction of therapy to a wider spectrum of individuals. It's counselling that feels right for you.

  4. Economical and cost-effective: It may be less expensive for both therapists and clients to get therapy online. Both clients and therapists may save money by not having to pay as much for travel fees and overhead related to running a physical office. So, bid farewell to having your wallet burn a hole due to transportation expenses. Online counselling is similar to receiving therapy at your house without having to pay for delivery. 

  5. Increased Options of Therapists: Perhaps your dream therapist is practising in a different state. Geographical limitations are removed with online treatment, providing you with access to a large number of therapists to choose from. It is like having a buffet of therapists from which you select the one that most suits your needs. Online therapy also gives therapists the ability to communicate with clients who live far away from them, increasing the number of prospective clients they can serve and the options for specialisation they can pursue. 

  6. Increased Continuity of Care: For those who have developed a therapeutic alliance with a particular therapist but may need to move or travel, online therapy can offer continuity of care. Unexpected things happen in life, and sometimes it requires packing up and moving. Your quest towards better mental health never stops when you use online therapy. No matter where life takes you, you may easily resume or continue your sessions, with your favourite therapist, online. 

  7. Scope for Anonymity: Some people might feel more at ease talking about sensitive and private matters from the seclusion of their own homes. A certain amount of anonymity provided by online therapy can ease feelings of shame and promote candid dialogue. Being in your place can offer a reassuring degree of solitude, similar to sharing a heartfelt conversation over a cup of tea with a buddy.

  8. Facility Quick Support: People can connect with a mental health expert when they most need it by using the choices for immediate or emergency support that are frequently offered by online therapy platforms. It's like having a mental health superhero on speed dial. They show up just when you need them the most.

Access to Blogs and Reliable content related to Mental Health from Qualified Professionals

Online Therapy

In addition to other benefits of online therapy, you also get access to specially curated blogs and mental health-related content by experts. The emergence of online therapy has brought about a revolutionary shift in the field of mental health and well-being, providing clients with unparalleled access to professional assistance from the convenience of their homes. In this landscape, it’s necessary to highlight the importance of trustworthy services and content in the context of online treatment. It can be difficult to navigate the large sea of information. Still, blogs and self-help guides written by qualified mental health professionals will point readers in the direction of reliable resources and quality content. These resources enable the readers to make knowledgeable decisions on their path to mental well-being. Watch this space[3] for insights that promote a more connected and healthy world by fusing technology breakthroughs with a human touch.

CHALLENGES IN ONLINE THERAPY

It is also important for us to explore the difficulties and challenges surrounding this exciting new universe. Because, let's face it, there are hiccups on every trip, and receiving therapy online is no different.

1. Technical Difficulties: Connectivity Issues

Since we are in the digital sphere, let's start with some tech discussion. Imagine this: Just when you're having a deep epiphany regarding the purpose of life, something unexpected happens! Your internet decides to engage in a game of hide-and-seek. Your therapy's progress may be hampered by periodic frozen screens, bad connectivity, or technical issues. Therefore, it is better to make sure your internet connection is strong before starting your online therapy session.

2. Screen Fatigue

Have you ever found yourself in a staring contest with your screen? Yes, we all get it. Screen weariness is a companion that is not so pleasant to have around. It is similar to binge-watching your favourite TV for hours on end; initially delightful, but eventually it strikes you like a tonne of bricks. Similarly, online therapy in today’s world, may just add to this fatigue and it might hamper the quality and efficacy of therapy as well. Therefore, it is better to go for screen breaks every once in a while, to rest and rejuvenate your eyes.

3. The Comfort Dilemma

Offline therapy often involves a change of physical space, i.e. leaving your usual surroundings for a therapy office. In online therapy, you’re the boss of your therapy space. Here's the twist, though: You may also spend your Netflix marathons and take naps on the same cosy couch, on which you decide to take therapy. This can sometimes hamper the therapeutic process and can lead to a lack of seriousness or meaning to the process. It is similar to attempting to hold a serious conversation in a space that has witnessed a lot of pizza parties. So, it is advisable to set aside a certain location for your online therapy sessions. Having a designated area can help establish the tone and foster focus.

4. The Confidentiality Dilemma

Privacy and confidentiality are the most important building blocks of the therapeutic process. Hence, it's important to keep your sessions private in the virtual world and ensure that all ethical standards are being met. Hence, it is important to choose systems with strong security protocols. Your virtual superhero cape is encryption, which makes sure that your chats (in-text counselling) with your therapist stay private. Ensure the online therapy provider you select is reliable and places a high value on anonymity and confidentiality.

Although there are a few challenges in this emerging landscape of online therapy, the advantages seem to outweigh them currently. The benefits that we have discovered, from the comfortable home sessions to the abundance of therapists worldwide, are the cornerstones of a revolution. So, a virtual place on the digital sofa is waiting for you to start your therapeutic journey. Let's embrace the digital age, dismantle obstacles, and look forward to the fascinating new phases of self-discovery. The cosmos of digital therapy and your mental health are limitless. 

Today, you can receive treatment from the comfort of your preferred couch and at a time that works well with your schedule. Keep in mind that the virtual couch is more than just a place to sit; it's a doorway to personal development, progress, and mental health. The world of digital therapy awaits you. So go ahead and embrace the pixels, and embark on a journey of mental well-being in the rapidly growing field of online therapy.

References

 

bottom of page