Virtual or Online Therapy- Is it for you?
In a digital world it is no surprise that you can now engage in psychotherapy from the smart phone resting in the palm of your hand. Or the laptop propped up against your legs in bed. Or that dusty desk top computer that rarely gets used anymore.... Online therapy can take place in many forms. Each has its interesting points, benefits and consequences. Read on for a look at what "Telehealth" can offer.
Therapy through a secure video portal more closely relates to what we traditionally view as a therapy session. You are face to face with your therapist, emotions and mannerisms are seen and there is the benefit of knowing that you are being provided a private, distraction free session with your counselor. This form of online therapy is the only one currently covered by insurance so that is an important piece to keep in mind.
Telephone or call based therapy is picking up speed and several platforms are supporting this service. The face to face intimacy of a session is lost but we can tell a lot about a person by the tone of their voice. Therapy over the phone can be a great option for those that are feeling too vulnerable to be seen but want to engage in counseling.
Then there is text based therapy. Many platforms are offering this service- often under a "subscription plan." This is the most anonymous you could possibly be while still engaging with a licensed provider. You can write your thoughts out without fear of being seen or heard, either in a scheduled time frame or in your own time as you need. The consequence here is the lines between therapy and a "paid friend" are much more easily blurred.
An in office, -actually in the same physical space as your psychotherapist- session is usually best for those with chronic self harm or suicidal thoughts and behaviors, those who are living with an eating disorder and individuals experiencing psychosis. If any of these conditions have been recent enough to put your life at risk then engaging with someone in person is the best way to be sure you are SAFE. That is our biggest concern and teletherapy may not offer the best way to assess if you are at risk.
Curious which route is the best for you? Most therapists offer a free consultation and many platforms offer a free initial trial period. Explore your options, there is a right therapist and a right mode of therapy out there for you!