Online therapy has been around for a while, but Covid-19 restrictions meant it became the only option. And while we all thought it would be a temporary, as the months went on, we realised that nothing is ever going to be the same again.
Now we have had the opportunity to see how videocall therapy can work in exactly the same way as face-to-face therapy and there is growing evidence it can be as effective as in-person therapy and in some cases even more so.
So, what are the benefits of online therapy even after we are able to meet face to face again?
A greater understanding of mental health, combined with the pressures and distress caused by the pandemic, has created greater demand for talking therapies. NHS and private practice waiting lists are getting longer and longer. Our lives our getting busier and busier. Our mental health is getting pushed further down our priorities list.
A year ago, many of us would not have imagined we would be using video calls on a daily basis for work, for college or to talk to our friends. Let alone for therapy. Now technology is part of our everyday lives. It has opened us up to different experiences and allowed us to connect and communicate in different ways. It gives us access to more and more information. It is expanding public awareness of mental health, promoting a culture of acceptance and the benefits of therapy.
With video call therapy you can access help no matter where you are. It cuts out the need to factor in travel. It eliminates the worry of arriving on time. It eases the anxiety of being in an unfamiliar space or going out in the rain and cold when even leaving the house is a struggle.
Some people find it easier to open up and discuss their problems with the perception of physical distance. Some have issues that might otherwise prevent them seeking help such as social anxiety or phobias. Some find it hard to find a suitable therapist in their local area.
Online therapy gives you the choice to find the right person for you at the right time for you.
We are building relationships in different ways now. We are better able to connect through technology than we have ever been. Anxiety about how we looked on the screen or if the Wi-Fi will work is starting to ease. Some might think it is difficult to read body language on a screen but there are still ways to see non-verbal clues and signs of distress or uncertainty, especially for an experienced therapist. The trust and connection that develops in face-to-face therapy can be just as strong in an online therapeutic relationship.
There are still a few things to think about, like do you have a space where you can have privacy, not be disturbed, or overheard? Is it safe for you? Is the person you are having difficulties with going to be in the house? Video call therapy is not going to be for everybody so a good therapist will give you the opportunity to talk through these things without any obligation to commit to therapy.
The last year has been an enormously unsettling and challenging time. Even thinking about finding the right therapy can seem like another huge hurdle. So, it might be the time to consider online therapy. To consider talking to someone who can help from the safety of your own home, in familiar surroundings, in your comfortable chair. Perhaps even with your beloved dog or cat by your side.
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