There’s no doubt that online therapy is becoming more and more popular. However, with its increased popularity also comes increased scepticism. Some people are wondering if online therapy can actually be helpful for treating all mental health disorders.
When you stop to consider that according to the DSM-5, the current, academically-accepted guidebook to mental health issues, there are over 450 different mental illnesses, you might stop to wonder if all of them can be treated with a particular type of therapy.
Let’s touch on whether or not you can actually help manage all these different illnesses just with online therapy.
Online therapy vs traditional therapy
The first thing that one needs to be aware of in regards to online therapy is that reputable brands actually provide access to qualified therapists and counsellors. This means that you’ll be receiving the same quality of help from an online therapist as you would from an in-office therapist.
Unfortunately, there are some issues that some people have with online therapy. Ultimately, these issues are personal in nature, and the decision as to whether or not online therapy is a matter of mindset and personal preference.
Some people, for example, have difficulty communicating with people over webcam or over the phone. These people require the subtle nuances of face-to-face conversation to really express themselves and understand the individuals that they’re communicating with.
Furthermore, there are certain forms of interactive therapy that a person might not be able to access through online therapy. For example, certain forms of art therapy require the client and the therapist to actively move about a room, exchange creative drawings or images, or use props and tools.
The best way to decide whether or not online counselling can help with your issue is to address the pros and cons of each.
- Accessible to people who may not be able to get to therapy
- Much more convenient
- Less stigma
- Often more affordable
- You may not experience the same benefits as face-to-face communication
- Limited – you can’t do interactive therapy with your therapist if you’re using a phone
- Can be difficult to have therapists recommended by word of mouth
- Intimate, face-to-face connection with a therapist
- You can do all forms of interactive therapy
- Friends can recommend particular therapists to yu
- It can be time-consuming finding a therapist, scheduling an appointment, and getting there
- Transportation costs to and from the therapist can be expensive
- Some may feel uncomfortable meeting with a therapist in person
There are a huge number of mental health conditions that can affect people throughout the world. It can be difficult to decide whether or not all of these different conditions can be treated with a particular type of therapy.
There are a number of pros and cons to each type of therapy. It’s important to note that online therapy has been studies, tested, and proven to be just as effective as traditional therapy in many cases. Ultimately, the only way you’ll be able to find out which type works is to try it for yourself.
Melissa Dickson did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.