Online mental health counseling is becoming increasingly popular as word spreads and services become more available, which for some raises the question, “why choose online counseling?” In a previous post, I explore some of the research about the efficacy of online therapy, so we know that online mental health counseling can deliver comparable results to in person therapy. In this post, I will explore some of the nuances of what online mental health counseling is like, and some reasons that many clients prefer teletherapy.
From the Comfort of Your Own Home
I’ll start by saying that there are obvious exceptions to this, like if you are in a situation with domestic violence, if you don’t have privacy at home, or you have unstable housing. In these cases, seeking in-person counseling may be more appropriate. However, for many individuals, talking to their therapist from the comfort of their own home can actually provide an added layer of insight into someone’s world. Clients doing video sessions from home may let their guard down more, because they may naturally be feeling more at ease in their own space.
Cut out Travel Time
In my own experience in therapy, I’ve driven at least thirty minutes one way to see a therapist. Was it worth it? Of course! Would it be easier to cut the drive out and add over an hour to my day? Absolutely. I appreciate and understand the value of actually seeing someone in person – you are able to pick up more information via body language (and your therapist can pick up on your body language more as well), but like I mentioned before, the outcomes of both types of therapy are comparable, so ultimately your choice will depend on your preference.
Options Beyond Phone and Video
Your therapist may include the ability for you to write to them during the week. I have designed packages based on the amount of communication someone would like, and this option can be really appealing to someone who expresses themselves better in writing, who feels more comfortable touching base during the week, or who wants to receive support with their therapy homework throughout the week. On the flip side, it can be a great option for someone who is phasing out of therapy but doesn’t want to quit completely. The writing can serve as a way to monitor how a person is doing once they have decreased or discontinued live sessions to make sure they are feeling stable beyond treatment.
Flexibility with scheduling
Teletherapy can create more flexibility around scheduling. There are several factors that can contribute to this. First, your therapist doesn’t have to travel to their office, and some therapists share office space, so there may already be limited availability. Second, your therapist may be able to offer you earlier or later appointments than they offer in person clients. Personally, I am able to offer clients early morning appointments at 7 AM, which is not a time that I offer to in person clients because I am not at the office that early. It can also offer more flexibility on a client’s end, as clients may choose to talk during a break at work. I don’t recommend meeting during a lunch break if you are diving into particularly emotional or challenging issues, but that’s between a client and therapist to decide.
If you are interested in learning more about online mental health counseling or are interested in scheduling an appointment, contact me!