Online therapy is increasingly becoming a favored platform for support with primary health services. Though online counseling is making a buzz on the healthcare network, the question still stands: is it a suitable choice for your relationship?
Breaking down the pros and cons
A couple of arguments suggest digital counseling, if combined with other forms of therapy, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is as effective as a one-on-one session. Hannah Goodman, LMHC, explains, “Cognitive behavioral therapy, often shortened to CBT, focuses on recognizing negative thought patterns and changing thoughts and behaviors and feelings through concrete skills.” Online treatment happens through various online counseling services that include emails, webcams or video calls, and chat rooms.
Learn more about online therapy and gain insight into the evidence behind the potential pros and cons.
If one wishes to have access to e-therapy instantly, it’s readily available. One of the good things about online therapy is that it topples down multiple kinds of barriers that cause hindrance for those who seek treatment; this is especially applicable for those who live in remote or rural places where face-to-face therapy assistance is only obtainable upon request. Also, those who are physically incapable of leaving the house, as people with disabilities, can quickly log on to their accounts and find a treatment. Teenagers, who prefer to do everything digitally, are more complacent in dealing with issues online.
If you and your partner are immensely considering going into therapy, but your resources are limited, web counseling might be a good option. Online treatment benefits individuals or couples who are financially limited and the therapist who wants to save on rent and other expenses. BetterHelp is one typical example of a website that offers a bang for your buck; it provides excellent material about mental health and has a 24/7 support system without crippling your savings. “This kind of effort takes a fair amount of commitment and understanding of the online world.” A remidner from John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
There’s no doubt about it; online therapy for couples is convenient for both the clients, and the therapists can easily correspond with one another at different times and locations. This type of treatment is suitable for couples who are always on the go and has limited time scheduling counseling into the mix.
While there are multiple online counseling benefits, there have also been criticisms regarding the absence of vital verbal and non-verbal cues, complications in security and confidentiality, and the overall efficacy of the programs available. Furthermore, while mostly beneficial, technology also poses a threat to the limitations in guaranteeing the credibility of online therapists.
- Absence of cues
One of the fundamental, most essential factors in counseling is gauging the client’s verbal and non-verbal cues, which are vital in diagnosing any forms of incongruences or inconsistencies between a person’s verbal and non-verbal attitudes. There have been many repeated castigations with online therapy due to its lack of the said elements.
- Client security and confidentiality
Healthcare practitioners swore to maintain confidentiality and protect the identities of their clients ethically. Online therapy poses a considerable threat to the client’s information and record because of the fear of an inappropriate breach. Without any exemption, online counseling services can be victims of controversies revolving around the internet regarding the hacking of vital details.
- Success and effectiveness
Ordinary people and professionals alike have deliberately questioned online counseling’s effectiveness. The deficiency of face-to-face interaction, a vital aspect of therapy, can pose a risk for misdiagnosis.
While there is a consistent rise in the number of online counseling, there is still much work to be done regarding fixing the cons stated above. Although the pros can outweigh the disadvantages, it is still advisable to ponder your options and think if this is the most suitable form of care for your therapeutic needs. But note, “Online care is not for every patient or practitioner. Clients with more serious mental illnesses or addictions likely need more treatment than digital therapy can provide. And some clinicians may find certain telehealth modalities difficult,” says clinical psychologist Nina Barlevy, PsyD.