Online therapy is an effective alternative to in-person counseling sessions.
The therapeutic relationship is characterized by you sharing intimate thoughts, beliefs, and emotions regarding the issue(s) you need help with. As such, I must provide a safe, open, and non-judgmental atmosphere where you can be at ease. Typically, that was done in a physical setting conducive to those goals, both in terms of your physical comfort and by sharing the same physical space with you.
COVID changed the rules, not just for therapists like me, but for other businesses from gyms to restaurants also had to adapt. To ensure my clients continued to receive the support they needed, I deployed an online therapy platform.
Online therapy was not the norm before COVID for most therapists or their clients. However, an interesting thing happened as we all adapted and got comfortable with the technology. It works. Does it, or will it replace face-to-face visits in an office setting? No, but it has been working far better for my clients than they (or I) would have expected. That is why I will continue to offer online therapy as an option moving forward, even after COVID.
Flexibility and Convenience
When you don’t need to get in a car to leave your office or home, it’s much easier to schedule a session around work, children’s naptime, or other activities. You don’t need to add commute time, or time or “getting ready” time to leave the house.
Online therapy is accessible to those who are disabled or housebound. Mobility, in general, can be an issue for accessing mental health care. It can be hard to leave your home when sick, even if it’s not from COVID.
Comfortable and Safe
I strive to make my office a safe and comfortable setting for clients, but being in the comfort of your own home, in familiar surroundings, might facilitate your ability to become more vulnerable by sharing painful thoughts and emotions. For some, it can be easier to share authentic versions of themselves from the comfort of their own homes.
Running into people they know on the way into therapy can be a concern for some. Online therapy eliminates this possibility.
Verbal and Non-Verbal Cues
Verbal and Non-Verbal cues are essential to human interactions in general and especially during our counseling session. They help build the necessary trust and connection required and give me insight into the thoughts and feelings you express in our session. They’re not entirely lost with online therapy, but face-to-face sessions can provide a more complete view for both of us.
It is certainly not unusual for computers and software to fail, or WiFi and Internet connections to have issues. Such problems can degrade the quality of our session or, in some cases, require it to be transitioned to a phone session or rescheduled.
Nothing can completely replace direct interaction. Online therapy doesn’t always work for some clients and situations. Also, some prefer to set aside a time and place for their session in a location outside their work or home environment.
Online Therapy and COVID
COVID didn’t just make online therapy necessary for social distancing concerns. As we all adjusted to that, COVID created a new set of challenges that added stress to our lives and strained our relationships when we most needed them.
- Couples have become co-workers and office-mates at home. New physical space for home offices had to be carved out, often at the expense of needed personal space.
- Home offices are new to many, and so have been their challenges, such as:
- No boundaries
- Isolation from co-workers
- Time management and motivation
- Frequent distractions
- Inadequate work set-up
- Work taking over your life
- Daily routines shattered, altered or reshuffled
- Parental duties to sort out and handle differently
- More stress, greater worries, less sleep, and higher uncertainty
- Financial burdens and job loss concerns
- No warning. No chance to prepare for these new challenges and the overload they create.
The hopeful news is that there are good reasons for the stress and anxiety you are experiencing in your personal life and as a couple. This is where therapy can be the most helpful. There’s not a lot of guesswork why you’re having issues and challenges and feeling the way you do. You need a supportive environment where you are heard and validated.
As a team, we can navigate these waters together and find solutions that will make a difference, and give you more strength and energy to tackle these challenges.