In recent years, online therapy has grown to be a popular option. Nearly a decade ago, it was basically unheard of it. Part of the rise in popularity of online therapy (also known as online counseling, telehealth, or teletherapy) is the growth in technology in recent years.
However, in the last few years, online therapy (telehealth) has seen a tremendous growth trend. While of course, nobody is grateful for the dramatic impact the pandemic has had on the world and in our lives over the last few years.
But, there are two very good things that came from it. First, more than ever, people are realizing the importance of taking care of their mental health. This is great news!
Second, people have experienced the power of online meetings using Zoom or similar platforms. This has catapulted online therapy to the mainstream faster than anyone could have predicted including me (and I have been providing online therapy since 2008!). This is great news too because it means that people can choose the best therapist for their needs, not based on just where they happen to live.
Understandably, since online therapy is all around us now, many people are wondering if online therapy is just as effective as traditional in office therapy.
While you aren’t sitting in a physical office with the therapist, the benefits of online therapy have been shown to be just as effective, if not more so. Here are 4 reasons.
Is Online Therapy Effective? Yes! Reason 1 – Less Stress For Busy Schedules
Working, studying, going to the gym, seeing friends, raising families, and household duties all take up so much of our time. Because of this, a lot of people will end up delaying going to see a therapist. After all, who has time to drive or take public transportation to the therapist office, sit in the session, and then drive back?
One way that online therapy is effective is that it gives people a better chance to even participate in the first place! Therapy can only be effective if you are going to it regularly AND not stressed out by just the idea of getting there. It may be a simple kind of logic, but, it’s the truth.
Online Therapy, or Telehealth gives many people the chance to go to therapy and work through their issues on their own time and from the comfort of anywhere.
Is Online Therapy Effective? Yes! Reason 2. More Options For Therapists And Clients
The image is embedded into our psyche. We think of therapy and we picture sitting in an office, laying down on a couch, while we talk about what’s bothering us. Nearby, a therapist sits in a chair jotting down notes. First of all, therapy is not like this anymore anyway!
But regardless of the image of therapy you have, chances are, the therapist you found was one of only a handful of accessible options for you in your area. While you were always free to work with anyone in your state (if in the USA) or country (depending on where you live), this wasn’t the most practical thing for many people prior to the rise in popularity of online therapy.
You were confined to the handful of options within either your immediate area or a short bus ride or drive from your home.
Now, you are no longer limited to a certain mile radius from your home. In fact, as long as a therapist is licensed in your state (for the USA), or registered (for many other countries), they can see you via online therapy or telehealth.
This makes online therapy (telehealth) more effective because it gives you the flexibility of being able to find the right match for you. It gives you and the therapist much greater choice which means that clients and therapists can be very well matched in terms of approach and personality fit.
Online therapy also helps with scheduling, as you often aren’t struggling for the same time slots as everyone else in your area. In short, you have a lot more choice. And isn’t this what therapy is about? Helping you to see the choices you have in your life?
Is Online Therapy Effective? Yes! Reason 3. More Communication
Before, you got to talk with your therapist only during sessions. However, one great trend is that there can be more communication accessibility between therapist and client. Because communication between us is solely online, it can make it easier for a quick check-in between sessions or even the ability to schedule an additional meeting in the same week if needed.
We are no longer confined to being able to help our clients during an in-person session only. Whether it’s through secure email or online client portal, the ability to maintain our relationships with clients and give some extra support through the week (when needed) is something therapists (and clients) don’t take for granted.
Is Online Therapy Effective? Yes! Reason 4. A Wider Range Of Therapeutic Methods
Perhaps the most beneficial reason why online therapy is just as effective as in office therapy is that it gives you access to therapists with a wider range of tools which they use in therapy.
Before, there was a limit of therapists you could work with, which also meant that you may not get the most effective treatment. For instance, if cognitive behavior therapy would be more beneficial to you than just traditional talk therapy – you may not be able to get that treatment if no one in the area had specialist training in it.
Is Online Therapy Effective? Yes! Reason 5. A Wider Range Of Therapists
Not everyone is the same (of course)! And not everyone needs the same thing from their therapist. The fit you have with your therapist is a large determinant of whether or not the therapy is ultimately effective for you.
It is not all about the therapists training either (although that is of course important!) As fellow human beings, there are certain people that you will feel safer with than others. It is important to honor your feelings and needs here.
Some people find it helpful (and therapeutic) to work with a therapist from a similar background, whether this is ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, culture, nationality etc. Because online therapy opens the door to many more options, you can truly ask yourself who you would feel most comfortable working with and have a much greater chance of finding the right person, with the right therapy approach for you.
The Verdict From A Therapist: Is Online Therapy Effective? Yes!
As a therapist myself, having worked online since Skype! (dating myself!) I can tell you that I have seen online therapy to be equally effective to in office therapy and superior to in-office therapy for many people, including those who were skeptical about whether it would work for them. An additional option many people find helpful is the ability to see their therapist in a hybrid manner (sometimes online and sometimes in office).
In my own personal experiences of therapy as a client, I have also found online therapy to be as effective as in office therapy while appreciating the many unique benefits that online therapy provided.
Thanks to online therapy, more people are willing to go to therapy. It is an effective, less time-constraining and easy access to therapists who are ready to support you on your journey. If you are ready to see what online therapy is all about for yourself, please book yourself in for an Online Therapy Test Drive or feel free to contact me at my Honolulu or London clinics. Click to learn more about Online CBT and Online Therapy.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Hawaii and an Accredited CBT Therapist in the UK with over 15 years of experience. I specialize in online therapy. I have received advanced specialist training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy. Over the years I have had the privilege of helping clients learn how to manage their thoughts, emotions and behaviors and ultimately feel better and live better lives.