Online therapy provides “therapy on the go or conveniently online” wherever you are. It gives you the flexibility and mobility to call and schedule a session from anywhere and at any time. Therapy online allows you to avoid long drives, traffic, parking or crummy weather. It’s convenient, easy, comfortable and effective.
Online therapy is a powerful tool used when the therapist and the client are working together remotely and utilize Skype, Facetime or telephones during a counseling session. According to Derrig-Palumbo Ph.D. (Family Therapy Magazine, May/June 2009), “Online therapy has been around since the earliest days of the internet.” In addition, Dr. Albert Ellis, who pioneered the field of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy in the early 60s, used remote therapy as a means to counsel clients all over the world.
I’ve provided incredibly effective online sessions for more than 20 years with clients from all over the world, utilizing Skype, Facetime and phones.
When you attune yourself to subtle vibrations and deeply intuit what is happening during a session, the physical world is no longer relevant, and only the energy of the moment is of utmost importance. In fact, research indicates that using technology for virtual sessions is extremely effective and it is becoming more common and popular.
Popular Science Magazine published an article about the effectiveness of online treatment and how it can be more effective than in-person sessions. Shaunacy Ferro writes, “Lying on your therapist’s couch might be a thing of the past. Why bother, when you could duke it out with your depression by the pool? Online-based therapy could help patients overcome barriers to treatment like long distances to clinics, long waiting times or the fear of stigma associated with seeking treatment for depression. And new research shows it can be just as useful to reduce depression as in-person treatments.”
This research indicates that “Patients who received face-to-face treatment worsened after leaving therapy, re-exhibiting depressive symptoms, while those who had online treatment were more likely to maintain the reduction in symptoms associated with the treatment.” The researchers suggest this could be because the internet-based intervention puts more focus on self-responsibility. “This might evoke a stronger, longer-lasting sense of self-efficacy in handling negative thoughts and depressive behavior.”
Studies conducted at the University of Bristol compared the effectiveness of online sessions to in-person sessions and found that 42 percent of the clients who were receiving online treatment recovered from depression versus 26 percent who were treated with conventional methods.
The National Institute of Mental Health published research about how “Internet-based PTSD Therapy may help overcome barriers to care.”
“There is research that indicates that doing therapy over the phone is as effective as in-person therapy,” said Karen Sherman, who holds a doctorate in psychology and is based near New York City. “One might consider online therapy an extension of this practice.” Read more about this research in PHYS.ORG.
A CNN Report stated that “A new study in The Lancet suggests that real-time chat therapy with a psychotherapist is successful in helping people with depression.” The article also mentions that “Experts say the Internet has enormous potential for psychotherapy, especially for reaching people who do not have access to in-person care.” According to CNN, in some cases, online treatment may prove to be more effective. “People may be more willing to talk about things that are embarrassing or stigmatizing if they’re not interacting face to face with a therapist,” according to Dr. Gregory Simon.
What are the drawbacks to online treatment?
Technology may make it difficult to catch all the nuances of body language that are often a part of an in-person session. However, when we think about Freud, the father of psychology who rarely practiced face-to-face therapy, and Albert Ellis, another pioneer in the field who started using technology early on, it gives us a different perspective of how we can view online counseling.
As research indicates, some say it’s more effective than in-person therapy because people may feel less inhibited online. Ultimately, it’s up to you, and what feels most comfortable. Our culture is becoming increasingly comfortable using technology, especially for younger individuals and those who work in the service industry. In my experience, if we follow the energy in the session, it doesn’t matter where we are. Healing happens regardless of whether we complete therapy online or in person.
How do I prepare for an online session?