Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy How Effective Is Virtual Counselling Compared to In-Person Therapy?

How Effective Is Virtual Counselling Compared to In-Person Therapy?

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Online therapy services have become increasingly accessible. Since the advent of the pandemic, more people are turning to teletherapy to access mental health treatment away from the confines of a medical centre.

Though it takes a significant adjustment, online therapy has proven to be a valuable resource in dealing with mental health, considering the current stigma and discrimination surrounding the condition.

Whether you’re experiencing acute stress or chronic mental health conditions, finding the correct type of therapy is crucial, regardless of where you are in your mental health journey. If you choose virtual counselling as your preferred treatment avenue, it is imperative to understand its benefits and how effective it can be compared to in-person therapy.

Not much difference between in-person therapy

According to the American Psychological Association, teletherapy is as effective as in-person sessions for treating various mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders.

However, its reach and effectiveness are limited, especially regarding severe mental health ailments such as bipolar disorders. For example, if you have a severe mental illness, it would require intensive care making in-person therapy appropriate to allow for close monitoring and face-to-face communication.

Nonetheless, teletherapy offers several benefits, including accessing counselling services from the comfort of home often makes it easier for prospective clients to take the first step into treating their mental health ailments. 

It offers privacy and confidentiality

There is still a stigma surrounding mental health and other therapy-related ailments, with individuals continuing to face stigma and discrimination. These two issues make it challenging for affected individuals to openly seek mental health services and treatment, leaving many to suffer in silence.

However, that has changed due to an uptake in online therapy services, which allows individuals to access mental health services from the comfort of their home or workspace confidentially. That is effective since individuals can seek treatment and recover without discrimination and stigmatization.

Subsequently, virtual counseling can be effective if you are battling depression, disruptive behaviour, eating disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, or any other mental health ailment and you would like to seek treatment privately.

Besides, the best teletherapy platforms run on secure HIPAA-compliant platforms allowing for secure and encrypted communication. Hence, you won’t have to worry about risking your privacy or confidentiality during your sessions.

Virtual counselling offers convenience

The hectic lifestyle that individuals are living offers little room for people to slow down and take care of their mental well-being. The hassle of leaving for work or home and making a tiresome journey to a mental health centre or hospital can be daunting for many, especially those living in rural setups.

Thus, if you are juggling a hectic schedule, online therapy offers more convenience than traditional therapy. Instead of commuting to your therapist’s office once or twice a week, you can sign up for online counselling sessions and undertake them in the comfort of your home.

Virtual counselling sessions offer flexible scheduling options, including evening and weekend appointments, allowing you to choose the best convenient time. With teletherapy, you can access quality mental health treatment from the comfort of your home since you only need a reliable internet connection. The downside is that there can be session disruption if you are in a place with low or poor internet connectivity, which can affect video and voice quality.

Virtual counselling offers different modes of delivery  

For some people, having face-to-face therapy sessions can be a tall order leading to developing the fear of proceeding with their mental health treatment. However, virtual therapy offers different delivery modes, including live chats, videos, and texts. This flexibility makes virtual therapy effective, and if you are those people who fear face-to-face interactions, virtual therapy is the best treatment option.

BetterHelp ReGain, Talkspace, and Calmerry provide different delivery modes for their clients. For instance, virtual counselling can be effective if you are not confident enough for a face-to-face session since you can opt for online chats or SMS.

Virtual counsellors under one roof

As stated earlier, the pandemic forced many people, including professionals, to create a virtual presence to ensure that they can continue to offer their services. Virtual therapy allows different mental health professionals to come together and provide various services under one roof.

Unlike in-person therapy, where you can visit a different therapist for another issue at a different time, virtual therapists are under one roof. All you need to do is make online appointments and attend all sessions from wherever you are. Teen Counseling, for instance, offers several therapy-related services, including low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, depression, anger management, relationship issues, bullying, gender-identity issues, and eating disorders.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.


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