Is Online Psychotherapy Effective? (Pros and Cons)
When most people think of psychotherapy, they often imagine an office with a desk, a couch, and a soft-speaking person listening to them pour out their worries and sorrows. For some, that can be an intimidating thought!
Here’s the good news: therapy is rarely that.
Psychotherapy is a collaborative practice, where your therapist works with you to listen, but also guides you to a better headspace.
At KMA Therapy, we’ve helped hundreds of people get the help they need through video sessions with one of our registered psychotherapists. We've even created a subsidiary called Mind & Zest to help make therapy more accessible to those who need it.
With the rise of COVID-19, online therapy has seen a huge incline due to public safety. But before that, plenty of people were already utilizing online therapy as an alternative to in-person therapy for many different reasons. But does online therapy work?
By the end of this article, you’ll learn what online therapy is, the pros and cons of online therapy, and the next steps to take if online therapy is right for you.
What is online therapy?
Online Psychotherapy is just like in-person therapy, except it takes place through online forms of communication. Psychotherapy doesn’t have one specific “right way” to be done. Just like the different modalities of psychotherapy, there are different means of receiving counselling. Instead of sitting in front of you, your therapist provides counselling services through online aids such as:
- Online chat
- Therapy apps
- Text messaging
- Video conferencing i.e Zoom, Google Meets, FaceTime
Although non-conventional, therapy in any of these forms has been known to benefit people all around the world.
For example, KMA offers online therapy through our subsidiary called Mind and Zest where therapy takes place primarily through video chat. It’s a great way to see your client face to face without the need of travelling to one of our offices.
Why choose online therapy?
For some, online therapy is a better option for a multitude of reasons listed below. It’s important to remember that just like everyone learns in different ways, people receive help in different ways. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable, intimidating, or just inconvenient to travel to a therapist, and talk about topics that might trigger you.
Instead, online therapy provides a more convenient means for communication that often can take place from the comfort of your own home. This can make it easier to be vulnerable, or provide access to therapy to people who live too far from mental health services.
Pros and Cons of online therapy
There are plenty of reasons why online therapy is great, but also some things you might want to consider when deciding which type of therapy is right for you. Before making any choices, it’s important to know as much as you can. Let’s go over a few pros and cons of online psychotherapy.
Four Pros of Online Therapy
- Can be less intimidating: for those who aren’t comfortable speaking openly in a therapy office.
- Gives access to those in remote or rural areas: for those who don’t have mental health services near their home.
- Gives access to those with accessibility needs: for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to travel to a therapy office.
- Convenience: you can have your session from your home, a coffee shop, or any other location you’re comfortable in.
Four Cons of Online Therapy
- Wifi/internet issues: these can cause delays in communication or sessions
- Insurance issues: some insurance policies don’t cover online therapy sessions
- If you’re in a crisis: online therapists typically can’t assist with an immediate crisis
- Emotional connection: sometimes it's harder to connect emotionally online as you can’t read body language or see the way someone emotes
While there are both pros and cons, most people who utilize online therapy do so for accessibility reasons, convenience, price, or comfort level.
Regardless of your reason, online therapy can be a great alternative to in-person therapy.
So, does online therapy work?
You found this article and you want to know if online therapy works. The answer - online therapy has proven to be just as effective as in-person therapy for most clinical and non-clinical issues.
Online therapy can be useful for issues like:
- Anxiety disorders
- Some mood disorders
- Brief solution-based needs
For more complex mental illnesses, it’s best to seek help from a medical professional about the best option for you.
Next steps if online therapy is right for you
In this article, you learned what online therapy is, the pros and cons, and figured out if it’s the right fit for you. You may have tried in-person therapy and found it inconvenient, inaccessible, or generally uncomfortable. But don’t let that stop you from getting the help you need in the way you need it.
Here at KMA, we offer both online and in-person therapy options. Our experienced team is here to provide you with a customized therapy plan to help you reach your goals, regardless of which option you choose.
If you’re looking to learn a little bit more about therapy, here are a few more great articles to read:
- To learn more about online therapy at KMA, read: Online Therapy
- If you're looking for a therapist in Toronto, read: How To Find A Therapist In Toronto
- If you're considering a therapy app, read: In-Person Therapy vs. Therapy App: Which is Right for Me?