How effective is online therapy?

How effective is online therapy?

Over the years, psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), have been conducted face to face. However, since COVID19, more and more people are opting to have their therapy online. There is good evidence that therapy can be delivered competently, via different media, is usually accepted by the client, and that it is possible to build up therapeutic relationships that are as strong as those formed in face to face therapy (British Psychological Society, 2020). This essentially means that online therapy is effective.

I am lucky in that even before COVID19, I was involved in implementing video therapy in the NHS service I worked for, meaning that I was already about a year into using online platforms to deliver psychological therapy.

Some love it. Others loathe it. And my opinion is there is no right or wrong. I must admit that personally, I like a mixture of both!

What are the advantages of having therapy online?

For many, online therapy is more convenient for a variety of different reasons.

The need to allow extra time for travel and parking is eliminated when you have your therapy online. If your appointment starts at 10am, you can literally log in and 9:59am and still be early for your appointment! Once your session has ended, you can get back to whatever you were doing before.

Those who work long, or unsociable hours can opt to have therapy on their lunch break or after work. Many NHS services who offer psychological therapy only work 9-5pm which excludes those in this category.

Parents can struggle to attend therapy in person due to lack of childcare. I work with lots of mum’s who can have their treatment online in the comfort of their own home whilst having the ability to attend to their babies/children if necessary. This can reduce the pressure on them to get out of the house and arrive for their appointments on time.

Others who have physical health conditions that inhibit their ability to attend therapy in person can receive the exact same treatment online.

Some people find it too daunting to have therapy face to face so having the option of receiving therapy that is not done in person can mean they have access to the treatment they would not normally have.

Lastly, those seeking treatment for trauma-related conditions have reported to feel safer and more comfortable having their appointments in the comfort of their own home, rather than in a therapy clinic.

When online therapy isn't the most suitable option:

If you don't have a particularly safe home environment, online therapy is unlikely to be the most suitable option for you.

If you are so depressed that you are struggling to leave the house, getting up, dressed and out of the house to your appointment may be helpful in trying to improve your mood.

Having some time and space after an appointment can be helpful to gather your thoughts, and process any difficult feelings that may have presented themselves. Having to travel back from your appointment gives you the opportunity to do this. Online appointments mean there is more of an opportunity to rush back into life without necessarily tending towards these thoughts and feelings.

Some people just prefer the social contact and being in the same room as their therapist, and this is ok! There is no right or wrong - it's just what suits you as a person.

Where is the world at now?

Due to COVID-19, a lot of psychological therapy is still being conducted online. This has highlighted to therapists and service users alike that online therapy can be conducted effectively with good outcomes.

Some may not like the sound of online therapy at first but when they try it, they often realise it is easier and more effective than they anticipated, and their opinions soon change.

I tend to use Zoom, which is a secure and reputable platform and thus far, haven't had any issues. I think it's safe to say that the world has adapted very well to providing and receiving psychological support online and for the most part, it has been successful.

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