Does Online Therapy Work?
I became a psychologist because I enjoy working with people. I enjoy having another person in my office, looking them in the eye, and helping them face and fight their OCD, anxiety, and other issues. It is because of my personal preference to work with people in person that I had never embraced or ever seriously considered teletherapy. But as the COVID-19 pandemic spread I had to quickly change course; it was not responsible to continue seeing patients in person and I could not let my patients go without therapy during such a stressful time period! Before committing to teletherapy I had to do some research, and there are important things you should know if you choose to receive teletherapy yourself.
1) Telehealth has been shown to equally effective when compared to in-person therapy in many scientific studies. As with any therapy, your ability and willingness to be open with your therapist, and the connection that you have with your therapist is one of the most important factors in treatment, much more so than whether or not you are in the same room!
2) Use a secure and private system to do therapy. Although there are many video-chat services available it is important that your therapist use one that is HIPAA compliant to protect your privacy. I use Theranest which ensures safety and privacy for all of my sessions, though there are other options available.
3) Find a quiet place to speak with your therapist with good internet connection! If you do not have access to a strong internet connection, some therapists will do phone sessions as well.
4) Do not delay therapy if you are struggling! There is a great deal of change, uncertainty and anxiety because of this pandemic. You should not take this as a message that you should wait and find therapy when this is all over, you should take control of your mental health now! There are many options for finding therapists that do telehealth that can help you if you need.
Please be safe and responsible during this time and remember to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health!