With how easy it is to communicate with people online, it is no surprise that the way people approach therapy has changed a little, too. Now, online therapy is as easy to get and as normal as traditional sessions. However, which option is better? And between online therapy vs. in-person therapy – which one is right for you?
The Benefits of In-person Therapy
One of the most critical arguments in favor of in-person therapy is the importance of nonverbal cues. Your therapist will be able to make a lot of conclusions just based on your behavior. And all of them are essential contributing factors when discussing your mental state and the severity of the issues you are talking about.
People feel closer to those they meet and get to know in person. It is one of the reasons why having a pet is good for your health if you do not have a lot of contact with others. As very social beings, most of our bonds come from the people we meet daily. And while you cannot exactly meet with your therapist that often, the in-person meetings still help build a bond of trust, making a client more comfortable to open up.
While the effectiveness of online therapy matches in-person therapy in most regards, patients with severe mental problems are still advised to meet with their therapists in person. The advantages of in-person therapy we have mentioned so far contribute to the clearer picture. It all boosts the effectiveness of such meetings. Similarly, with a higher degree of familiarity, your therapist will be better able to give recommendations and advice. For example, there are surprising mental health benefits to working out in general, but such a method of coping is particularly effective for some while less effective for others.
The Drawbacks of In-person Therapy
In-person therapy requires a lot of dedication from the patient. The fact that your therapist knows you better and has a closer bond means that they will likely push for more progress and more frequent meetings. This can be good for some, but those who were reluctant to sign up for sessions can quickly begin to lose motivation.
When arguing about online therapy vs. in-person therapy, we cannot deny that in-person visitations lose out in the aspect of convenience. You would need to set aside time for a session and then actually make a visit to the therapist. This can be very hard to organize with clashing schedules and workplace demands. And when all you want to do is stay at home and relax after work, it can be challenging to drum up the motivation to work on bettering yourself through therapy.
There is one massive advantage of online therapy. It makes it a lot easier to find the right virtual therapist for you. In contrast, finding a good therapist in your area can be difficult or downright impossible. There is little you can do if visiting a recommended therapist forces you to drive for an hour just to reach their office.
The Positive Aspects of Online Therapy
Due to the easier accessibility and the fact that you do not have to organize frequent trips, online therapy is already cheaper than the alternative, even if the cost of a session remains the same. However, many therapists charge less for online sessions than in-person ones. This stems from the fact that such sessions are often shorter and more informal.
It can be challenging to find the resolve to start going to therapy. This often comes from the fear of revealing your anxiety and doubts to another person. And the sheer degree of how open you need to be can scare a lot of people off. However, the familiarity and comfort of your own home make it much easier to willingly do all of this than being in an unfamiliar setting would.
An essential factor to consider when weighing online therapy vs. in-person therapy is the privacy that online therapy affords. It is not exactly a healthy mindset, but many people are ashamed of needing treatment. They refuse to seek the help they need for fear of their family or acquaintances finding out about it. However, online therapy happens in your own home. You can remain completely sequestered from other people, even your loved ones, and never have to risk encountering someone on the way to a session or even at the therapist.
The Disadvantage of Online Therapy
It is, unfortunately, disgustingly common for fake therapists to try and prey on those who are already in a bad place. They do, of course, look to scam people of their money. However, much worse are those who look to abuse the bond of a therapist and a patient to manipulate those looking for help into doing whatever it is they want them to. This is why you need to be extra careful when selecting a therapist online and make sure they are appropriately licensed.
Reliance on technology
Due to the way an online therapy session unfolds, you would automatically be robbed of the therapy time you had booked and paid for if anything goes wrong with your equipment. A break in your internet connection would be enough to get in the way of getting the treatment you need.
Limits of online interaction
Finally, the most glaring flaw is the distance we tend to put between ourselves and those we meet online. Most people tend to treat online interactions frivolously. Or even use an internet persona to mask their true selves. This would, naturally, get in the way of having a good therapy session.
Having discussed the question of online therapy vs. in-person therapy, hopefully, you can now decide which is right for you. In the end, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your choice.