Some people want the in-person experience of therapy and that is great. They want to sit on the sofa with the familiar objects that they usually see in their therapist’s office. People also enjoy the drive to therapy and the drive back home or to the office post-therapy.
On the other hand, many couples cannot coordinate the same schedule with their partners. Business owners, or health care providers are unable to get away from the office for an hour and a half mid-day. Parents also struggle with getting to a therapy appointment due to carpooling to and from school or having extracurricular activities in the afternoon / evenings. You may want the confidentiality of seeing someone who isn’t in your town. Perhaps you have found the perfect therapist for you, and she is thirty minutes away. Some just really enjoy virtual therapy in the space of their choice.
There is no denying the convenience of virtual therapy. You can hop on a call with your therapist right after the kids leave for school and start work after your session. Business owners, real estate agents, attorneys, physicians, CPAs, and other therapists fit in a therapy session in between their own appointments.
Virtual therapy is therapy that takes place via your phone or on a computer. It allows people to seek treatment from the comfort of their home without traveling. One of the many benefits of virtual therapy is that it allows couples to join sessions together from two different locations. This is a huge benefit for couples who otherwise were unlikely to attend therapy due to time constraints and scheduling issues. People should not have to give up mental health care just because of their work schedules.
The popularity of virtual therapy grew during the pandemic for both individual therapy and couple’s therapy. Research shows that it is here to stay, and its popularity is growing. The popularity of virtual therapy is actually bringing lots of people forward for therapy that otherwise had not attended.
According to Lynn Bufka, PhD, “Therapy is all about the relationship that you have” with your therapist. This relationship can be built in person or via telehealth. When we talk about telehealth, we are referring to video conferencing with your therapist.
“A meta-analysis of 57 studies including more that 4,300 clients comparing in person therapy for mental health with videoconferencing session found that the two modes were equally helpful to patients.”
The same has not been found for therapy that is delivered via chat or email. Text based therapy has not been shown to be the same as one-on-one therapy.
Batastini analyzed two decades worth of data comparing teletherapy and traditional treatment. Below are the findings:
“We didn’t find any evidence that there’s a difference between videoconferencing and in person mental and behavioral interventions. In fact, based on the data, some women appear to have better outcomes using video therapy than in person treatment.”
Some people experience teletherapy to be more comfortable then in person.
According to Amy Ettinger, a proponent of virtual therapy “I found it comforting to talk to my counselor while wearing my fuzzy house slippers. And to my surprise, I was able to share my emotions through a screen much more easily than I’ve ever been able to in person”
As a therapist, I have seen some of the benefits of virtual therapy. One is the emotional support of animals. I see lots of clients pet their cats or their dogs during session as a way to self soothe. Some clients enjoy phone sessions so that they can move during the session. They experience movement to be therapeutic.
Safety and Confidentiality
Another potential benefit of virtual therapy is confidentiality. I have some clients who live in different cities and prefer to see a therapist who is not in their town. Therapists, counselors and social workers often have a hard time finding a therapist for themselves in their own city. Telehealth allows them to find a therapist who they don’t know in another city. In addition, members of the LGBTQ community may have a hard time finding an affirming therapist in their own town. Telehealth allows you to widen your search. You will still need to look withing the same state, but you can widen your web.
Any platform that your therapist uses should be safe and confidential. Therapists typically use platforms that provide you with a private link and a password to ensure the privacy of your conversation and your personal health information.
You might be concerned about technology issues. Yes, this can happen. The good news is that in today’s world, it’s rarely an issue. People work remotely from all over the world. You will need a computer or a smart phone and wi-fi and you are good to go!
Modern Therapy and Wellness provides virtual therapy to individuals and couples in Louisiana. We specialize in couples therapy, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse, grief and working with the LGBTQ community. Give us a call 504-452-1483 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I fill out paperwork with a virtual therapist?
If you are working with a therapist who is virtual, they will send you forms to be filled out online via a confidential online portal. You will log into your portal and fill out intake paperwork so that your new therapist will know some things about you before you get started.
What to expect for my first session
During your first therapy session, whether that is in person or virtual, your therapist will be getting to know you. They will be asking a lot of questions so that they understand you and what you want to work on.
Below are some common questions that your therapist might ask:
What is bringing you in for therapy?
What would you like to work on here?
Tell me about your upbrining
What are your goals for therapy?
Have you received therapy before and what was that experience like for you?
Tell me about your medical history
What are the things that are going well in your life?
How do you cope with stress?
Before the session
Before your session, you will receive a link from your therapist to join the virtual session.
Before your session, be thoughtful about what you want to work on each session.
Before your initial session, be thoughtful about what your goals are for therapy and what you want to get out of it. Be sure to communicate this with your therapist.