Therapy Online – Does it Work and is it Worth it?
While online therapy became an option during the pandemic to allow people to continue treatment despite the restrictions, it’s getting more and more popular and is now many people’s preferred type of therapy. In this blog, you’ll find out what online therapy’s benefits are, get a general idea of how it works and how to prepare for your first session.
What Problems Does Online Therapy Help With?
Online therapy can help with various problems, including but not limited to:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Low self-esteem
- Chronic pain
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Sleep problems
- Panic attacks
- Social anxiety
- Relationship problems
If you aren’t sure if online therapy is suited to your needs, most therapists will be happy to offer you a free telephone consultation to get a general idea of what help you might need and discuss your options.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
According to recent studies, online therapy seems to be as effective as a traditional type of treatment. For example, findings from the 2012’s study indicate that online Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an effective alternative for people who experience symptoms of depression, burnout, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Additionally, previous research found online therapy and in-person therapy to be equally effective in treating anxiety. 
How is a Therapy Conducted Online?
In short, online therapy follows the same principles as face-to-face therapy, except it’s performed via a teleconferencing program such as Zoom or Skype. For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy equips you with healthier coping skills and aims to help you develop a more realistic mindset by teaching you how to replace unhelpful thoughts. This type of treatment often involves practical homework which can be sent to you in a Word document. Similarly, if you seek Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy (DBT), you’ll receive worksheets that you can fill in online and then review with your therapist using the share screen option.
What Are the General Advantages of Online Therapy?
Online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy and comes with many additional advantages:
- It’s convenient
Online therapy can be more convenient than face-to-face therapy, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle. Since all you have to do is click on the Zoom or Skype link, you won’t have to waste time on getting to your therapist’s office or worry that you might be late. Seeing a therapist online also allows you to find a time that suits your needs best as it’s currently an option offered by most therapists based all over the country.
2. It’s accessible and inclusive
On the same note, because of online therapy’s popularity, you can find a therapist that best suits your needs regardless of where they’re based. While most therapists are familiar with the most popular types of treatment such as CBT, some therapies require a set of skills not everyone is trained in. For the same reason, online therapy is also a great solution for people with disabilities that make it difficult to attend therapy sessions in person.
3. It’s less out of your comfort zone
Online therapy means being able to receive help from the comfort of your home. This is an especially great advantage for people who hesitate to start therapy due to anxiety. Thanks to online therapy, you can stay in a familiar and safe environment.
4. It can be more affordable
In some cases, therapy online might cost less than in-person therapy and a lot of therapists might offer concessions for those on a low income.
How to Prepare for Online Therapy
The only downside of online sessions is that there are a few technical things you have to keep in mind. Here’s how to prepare for your first appointment:
- Let your flatmates know about your appointment
This doesn’t mean you have to confide in them and inform them that you’re seeing a therapist but you should make sure you can have peace and quiet to prevent interruptions. Tell them that you’ll need them to be quiet during a certain time because you’ll be having an appointment.
- Check your Internet connection
To avoid unnecessary stress, make sure your Internet is fast enough to handle an hour-long session. For example, if you’ll be using Zoom your Internet has to have at least 1.5 Mpbs download speed.
- Reduce distractions
As your therapist will only be able to see you from your chest up, you’ll feel less observed and thus more likely to get distracted. To minimise distractions, make sure your environment is tidy – keep your desk clean and put your phone away.
- Check if all the necessary devices are working properly
As a working microphone and a camera are crucial to making online therapy work, it’s a good idea to log into the chosen software and test everything before your session.
- Write down your worries
Even though being able to speak to a therapist from your room can put you at ease, seeking help is still stressful and often overwhelming. To relieve some of the stress and gain clarity on what specific goals you’d like to achieve in therapy, it’s a good idea to keep a journal a few days prior. Keep those notes handy during the session so you can refer to them if you forget what you wanted to mention to your therapist.
- Consider preparing an after-care plan
Another great thing about having therapy sessions online is that you can do something enjoyable to relax straight after. Therapy can be mentally exhausting so it’s a good idea to have a bath or do a light exercise when the session finishes.
If you’re not sure if online therapy could help with your problem or if you think it would work for you, contact My Family Psychologist to discuss your options