Technology has been at the core of connection since March with online, virtual meetings slowly becoming more of a norm. Therapists and clients have transitioned from in-person sessions to online due to concerns related to Covid-19, and the primary goal has been to ensure continuity.
Benefits of online therapy:
For some people, the accessibility of online counselling can offer ease, simplicity, and comfort. There is no need to worry about driving to an appointment, finding and paying for parking, and searching for an office. Online counselling can eliminate the need of having to worry about circumstances beyond our control such as traffic, construction, and accidents. Factors such as weather can also play a role in whether an appointment can be attended or not. Online counselling takes away having to worry about poor road conditions, defrosting windows, warming up the car seat, and having to dig out the shovel. Instead, there is the advantage of accessing a session from a secured online platform from the comfort of your own home.
When looking for any type of services, it’s likely we all search within a certain geographical area, and drive time is an important factor to consider. Although an appointment may be for a certain amount of time, the distance to and from is also part of the equation. We all have that one person for whom we are willing to drive 45 minutes out of the way, but not likely 3-4 hours. The benefits of online therapy are that you can seek professionals who may reside in another city. Now you don’t have to be limited to a professional within a certain drive time. Why not look out of the city, or in another part of the province. Online counselling can place more choice, along with greater options, with the client. Websites such as PsychologyToday can help people search for regulated mental health professionals who may practice online. The benefits of these kinds of websites also allows you to search within specific criterias such as expertise, education, modalities, and location. Online counselling creates more possibility and access to services for people living in remote, rural areas, where there may be less access to services. Online counselling can also provide greater access to resources for those who may have trauma history, language barriers, and limited mobility.
We all have that space we enjoy sitting in when watching tv, or binging Netflix. It may be sitting with a favourite blanket, being in comfy pyjamas, or sitting with your favourite warm drink. Why not incorporate that into your space when doing therapy. Therapy is hard work, and it is important to feel as comfortable as possible. Accessing services from the comfort of your own home can be beneficial in creating a sense of safety and choice. I’ve had clients come online with pets, favourite stuffies, comfy jammies, and even while having a meal. I consider it a privilege to be invited into your space, and there’s no greater compliment than being invited into someone’s home. Even if it is virtually.
It is common for people to get sick during this time of year, and it can be difficult to attend an appointment when we aren’t feeling our best. Concerns around Covid have certainly created additional complications around the logistics of attending an in person appointment. Consider checking in with your therapist to see what options are available, and how to transition to online should the need arise. If you are presenting with symptoms, and are unable to attend in person, it only takes a few moments to move an appointment online.
Although mental health advocacy has come a long way, there is still a stigma around the idea of seeking therapy and seeing a therapist. The benefits of online counselling can eliminate the discomfort of having to go to an appointment, and the possibility of running into someone you may know.
Is Online Therapy Right For Me?
Many people may feel uncertain about online therapy, and there can be concerns regarding what the process may look like. If you have concerns, check-in with your therapist if you are already seeking counselling. Collaborate with your therapist, and let him/her know that you are unsure about the process, so that you can both discuss options. If you are still searching for a professional, consider asking about online therapy during a consultation. Online doesn’t work for everyone, and it is important to evaluate the risks and rewards. There may be technology barriers, limited bandwidth, you may prefer in person meetings, and it may not be realistic to have meetings from home due to lack of privacy or the possibility of interruptions. Consider the options that prioritize your mental health, and what works best for you.
Stay safe and healthy everyone.