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Online therapy services are becoming more and more popular nowadays. A quick Google search will reveal the websites that offer web therapy through video calls and chat messages. This type of therapy is very different compared to the way treatment sessions were conducted ten years ago. Then again, a lot has changed and things will continue to change in this digital era.
There had been a lot of debate surrounding the effectiveness of this type of therapy but we do believe that this is a great step towards the improvement of mental health services.
Here are 7 reasons why online therapy is important…
1. Not everyone can afford traditional therapy
Therapy is expensive. Basic medical insurance does not always cover counseling bills and prescription medication. One therapy session can cost up to $200 which many people cannot afford. Online therapy services are much cheaper. Some websites charge as low as $1.75 per minute while others offer an hour of counseling for $100. These rates are significantly lower compared to face to face therapy.
2. Some people can’t leave their house
Individuals with physical disabilities and those who are home-bound or immobile might find it difficult to leave the house to see a therapist. People with psychological disorders such as social anxiety and certain phobias might also face a similar problem. With long-distance therapy, they can simply turn on their computers, connect to the internet, and get the help they need. This shows how E-therapy can make mental health services much more accessible to more people.
3. People are busy with their jobs
Some people just do not have the time to make the drive and visit a therapist. These people are caught up in their busy work schedules. Some take on double jobs. Others may be employed to cover night shifts and need the day to sleep. For therapy to work, a person has to regularly attend their sessions. Sadly, not everyone has the privilege of time. A big part of the working class cannot even afford to miss work for half a day even if they need to. Online therapy offers flexibility to individuals who are always unavailable or time constrained because of work duties.
4. Some people don’t have access to quality therapy in their area
Mental health services are not always geographically accessible. This is especially true in developing countries where mental health is not a public health priority. The situation is worse in poverty-stricken areas. Those who live in rural communities far from the metro travel hundreds of miles to get some reliable therapy. Sometimes, they have to commute by both land and water to see a psychiatrist. While this is a foreign idea for westerners, this is the reality of the situation in poor countries. Online therapy may not eradicate the big picture problem, but it is a significant milestone towards more accessible mental health services.
5. Immediate access
Online therapy is available 24 hours seven days a week. If a person finds himself spiraling in the middle of the night, he has the option to go online and seek for professional help. Web therapy can be incredibly helpful to people diagnosed with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other mental illnesses. Imagine how many lives can be saved with online therapy.
6. The stigma
Yes, the stigma surrounding mental health disorders still exists. Mental health advocates all throughout the decades have made significant progress in the way the society view mental health struggles. Others, however, still managed to hold on to their outdated beliefs about how the mind works.
Stigma is what makes it extra difficult for people to seek the help they need. They are scared of being seen anywhere near a therapy clinic because they do not want to be labeled as weird or crazy. The truth is, mental health disorders are as real as physical health problems. Those people with psychological disorders are merely individuals suffering from a chemical imbalance. Those individuals who are especially burdened by this stigma can turn to online therapy.
7. It educates
You have so much to learn about mental health if you find the time to talk to someone adept of the topic. E-therapy does not only provide guidance, comfort, and therapeutic solutions. They are also a reliable source of information. You do not need to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder to talk to a therapist. You can enroll yourself in a therapy session if you think you can benefit from it in any way.
8. Everything is digital
If we can make things faster, easier, and more convenient, then why not? These are exactly the reasons why humans continue to make innovations with technology. Online therapy is just a result of this continuous development. Web therapy gives everyone the opportunity to talk to a mental health professional in the comfort of their own homes. People pay less fees and save more time. It may be unconventional, but it is only a matter of time before it goes mainstream.
Does online therapy work the same as face to face therapy?
Other than a difference in venue, in-person therapy and e-therapy pretty much work the same. A study by the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare showed that online therapy patients showed the same levels of overall satisfaction as patients of in-person therapy sessions after one month of treatment. However, it still depends on which setup a person is more comfortable with. Some people prefer sitting on a therapy couch across an actual therapist. Others do not mind talking to someone through a web camera. So really, it’s not a question of what is more effective between the two. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to figure out where you are going to feel more at ease to truly unravel yourself during the session. The more comfortable and honest you are with speaking about your predicaments, the closer you are to a breakthrough!
Some people may find it difficult to meet with a licensed mental health professional in person. Thanks to the power of internet, they can now talk to one wherever and whenever they need to.
Looking for online therapy? Learn more here.