Does Online Therapy Really Work?

Most people are familiar with the benefit and common necessity of therapy. For those who need a fresh perspective to help them understand their emotions or require guidance as they work through challenges to overcome barriers, therapy can be a valuable, rewarding and life-changing tool.

Although in-person therapy is typically the most popular mental health counseling option, online therapy has certainly gained momentum recently. Why? Because teletherapy has given people access to much-needed counseling services during COVID-19.

According to data, over 40% of Americans have seen a counselor at some point in their lives but unfortunately for some, the idea of seeing a therapist is still a touchy subject. Whether it’s the social stigma, not having enough time, or worried no one will truly understand you, remote therapy has become a great means of breaking these barriers in the comfort of your own home.

What is Online Therapy?

In a nutshell: online counseling provides mental health services to clients using the internet. During a telehealth therapy sessions, certified online therapists or counselors use a secure program or application that enable the remote appointment to take place.

Some examples of teletherapy include:

  • Talk therapy over the phone
  •  Group chat for group therapy
  • Videoconferencing for individual, couples, or group therapy
  • Therapy through email or instant messenger
  • Apps that connect clients to therapists and offer therapy right from your tablet or smartphone

What is Online Therapy Used For?

Honestly, the type of online therapy you receive depends on what type of help you’re looking for from a counselor. Therapy is used to help with a number of challenges, and it’s important to work with a therapist who specializes in what you need.

Just like face-to-face therapy, teletherapy can be used to help with grief, anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, marital challenges, family matters, personality disorders… The list goes on. If you’re not quite sure what you need help with, you can always schedule a discovery session with a professional to see if they will be the right therapist for you.

Online Therapy vs. In-Person Therapy

For someone who is nervous about therapy or doesn’t have a lot of time on their hands, teletherapy can be a great introduction into receiving the help you need. If you are battling a severe mental illness and respond better to more intimate environments, traditional in-person therapy may be the better choice for you. Keep in mind, however, that while either space is safe, the safest feeling space can actually be the familiar one you have created at home for yourself. Both types of therapy can be trusted and, more often than not, lead to positive results. At the end of the day, the setting truly comes down to your personal preference.

If you feel that you need help and are not currently able to have a face-to-face therapy session, remote counseling is always a wonderful option to consider.

Benefits of Online Therapy

Online therapy can be just, if not more, effective as in-person therapy. So, if you find yourself asking “does online therapy work?” or “is online therapy as effective as in person therapy?”, the average answer is yes.

Some of the benefits of virtual therapy include:

  • Quick and easy access to care: With online therapy, you’ll no longer feel limited to providers due to your location, schedule or any physical challenges.
  • Lower costs: Teletherapy could help you save money on treatment. Whether it’s insurance, travel expenses or saving on child care, this option makes it easily accessible and more affordable.
  • More privacy: Remote therapy sessions can alleviate any privacy concerns you may have, allowing you to skip the waiting room and receive help from the comfort of your home.
  • Better public health : With the COVID-19 pandemic as a glaring example, remote counseling allows people to get mental health treatment at home, without risking the spread of infection.

Do I Need Online Therapy?

General life plus the additional struggles of COVID-19 have affected mental health on a global scale. Social distancing, overdosing on social media, mood swings, insomnia, unhealthy coping mechanisms… These are all common imbalances we’ve experienced as a result of the pandemic. At a time where we all feel in crisis, it can be hard to gauge our own mental well-being. It is important to remember that there is a difference between a disruption in your mental health vs. struggling to function on a daily basis.

3 Ways To Tell If You Need Online Therapy

If you’re still wondering if you need therapy or how to tell if online therapy is the right option for you, consider doing the following:

  1. Spend a few moments each day examining how you feel. Determine if you are having occasional negative thoughts, or if you’re getting overwhelmed with overactive, negative self-talk.
  2. Assess how your actions are affecting yourself and others. If you are lashing out at your friends, family or spouse, it may be a sign you need to talk to someone.
  3. Empathize with yourself. Have you tried to help yourself and nothing seems to be working? If this is the case, it may be time to ask for help – and that’s okay because you don’t have to face this on your own. It’s normal and healthy to seek outside, professional guidance.

Is Online Therapy Here to Stay?

While teletherapy may seem like a new trend – it’s not so new at all. Being developed and perfected since the 90s, social distancing and stay-in-place measures have solidified the need and accessibility of virtual therapy for everyone. Remote therapy comes with a wide range of benefits that give it even more reason to stick around.

Imagine if you had to relocate due to a job or family matter? You have spent months, maybe even years building a relationship with your therapist. Through teletherapy, you can sustain the relationship you have built with your therapist or counselor and rest assured that your treatment plan stays on track.

Maybe you are a busy mom who doesn’t have time to schedule a therapy session, but you could easily schedule a call from your car while you wait at soccer practice. There are undoubtedly so many reasons that remote therapy should stick around – and it will as we continue to navigate this not-so-new normal.

Certified Online Therapists Near Me

At McNulty Counseling and Wellness, our providers use a 100% secure teletherapy platform, Doxy Me. You can access it from your desktop, tablet or smartphone. Our clients use Doxy Me worldwide, allowing safe and easy accessibility to virtual therapy from wherever they are.

If you are struggling to interpret your emotions as a result of coronavirus, you are not alone. We have a team of dedicated professionals who are here to help you manage these feelings on your time. Therapy can be a big decision, so we like to make it as easy and effective as possible. If you are interested in online therapy or in-person therapy, we invite you to call our office in St. Petersburg, Florida to schedule your first session: 727-344-9867.