Thanks to the expansion of new technological features in communication, people can now communicate with doctors online. For those who need therapy but can’t make it to their doctor’s office, all they need is a computer with the Internet. It has different names: e-therapy, web therapy, or online therapy. Therapist and patient can then communicate through video or audio. Research has shown that online therapy has become acceptable as therapy in-person and is just as effective.
Why Online Therapy?
The reasons for choosing online therapy vary. Many people have odd feelings about meeting the therapist in person because, after all, it is a stranger they are talking to. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a certified, licensed therapist. By having the conversation from home, there is comfort and anonymity when expressing their inner feelings. Economically, it is cheaper to have an e-therapy session than in-person based on the kind of service that is needed. By text message – which is also falls under online therapy – people write out what they want to say more clearly than they could say it. And through online therapy, people can keep the fact that they’re speaking to a therapist privately. People don’t have to fear being seen by someone walking into the office.
How Does It Work?
There are many resources that can be used to find an online therapist. The International Society for Mental Health Online is a good place to look up procedures and links to find one. Look at psychology websites for credentialed “e-therapists.” There are “e-clinics” also, but their reliability for connecting people through to licensed therapists is suspect. When finding an e-therapist, check the price for a session and whether or not insurance will cover the cost. Also, check if to see the e-therapist communicates in the preferred way of instant messaging, video chat, or email. For those who are under the age of 18, consent with the parent is needed.
Note of Caution
Like all doctors, make sure that the therapist is following standard ethics. Like all therapists, they must keep all conversations confidential and must not lie about being certified. This is a con of online therapy because of that risk. Also, e-therapy includes the disclaimer that those who are feeling suicidal or in an emergency should seek medical help. E-therapy is for helping basic issues such as anxiety, depression, and low-self-esteem, not a way to treat series mental illnesses.
Millions of people speak to a therapist, but for many, it is hard to speak candidly about their problems for various reasons. Therapy from home and communicating with the other side has made the process easier now because the patient now feels less intimidated. Everyone texts and IM’s others, so the same has been applied between therapist and patient to keep some form of anonymity. It saves time in travel and even money. There does remain some skepticism about online therapy because the therapist wouldn’t be able to read the person’s body language and hear the person’s tone of voice when speaking. However, in an expanding communication system where everything is going online and to apps, online therapy makes it easier for everyone.