The Pros and Cons of Teletherapy
With the emergence of the Covid-19 virus this year, it seems everything is now virtual, including therapy sessions. However, telemedicine has actually been increasingly talked about for the past few years as a lucrative industry development that would allow doctors to expand their reach and accommodate some patients in a faster, easier way. COVID-19 has simply accelerated the development of successful and reliable telehealth methods. If there were ever a discipline perfectly suited to jump on the telemedicine train, it would be tele-mental-health, also known as teletherapy. With the general talk-and-listen simplicity of therapy, there is essentially no hands on contact that requires you to be present in a therapist’s office. Below, we will dive into the pros and cons of teletherapy to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
Convenience and Flexibility
Since you can attend teletherapy sessions from the comfort of your home, you can also schedule your sessions at times that are the most convenient for you and your schedule. The flexibility around scheduling may provide you with the opportunity to squeeze a therapy session into your busy schedule, without adding the additional time needed to drive to and from a therapist’s office plus the time spent in the waiting room. Overall, this provides clients with a more streamlined appointment approach, in which the only time you need to sacrifice for a therapy session is the time actually spent speaking with a therapist.
Teletherapy also increases the accessibility of therapy. For those living in rural or remote areas, there may not be many mental health practices nearby. Through teletherapy, therapists are able to reach these remote households through the power of the internet. Without reasonable accessibility to therapy, it is likely many people living remotely would forego therapy all together due to the lack of access. Furthermore, if you have a physical disability that makes it harder for you to travel to a therapist’s office, teletherapy provides you with a unique opportunity to get the treatment you need.
Also, online therapy provides an easy, non-stressful way for you to begin your therapy journey. Making an appointment and going into a therapist’s office may seem too intense for your first try at therapy, but the truth is anyone can benefit from talking to a professional and online therapy provides another avenue for you to begin exploring therapy from the comfort of your home.
In some cases, teletherapy may be more affordable. Through teletherapy, therapists are able to work without the confines of an office space. If your therapist is working solely on teletherapy, they may no longer have the overhead costs of an office space, thus allowing them to provide their services at a lower cost as well.
Potentially a More Comfortable, Private Experience
If you feel anxious about going to a therapist’s office due to the lack of privacy, for example seeing someone you know in the waiting room, teletherapy is perfect for you. Teletherapy provides patients with the security of knowing their interactions with their therapist are 100% confidential and private. It is important to note, both in-person and teletherapy sessions are bound ethically and legally by privacy laws and security regulations. The extra layer of privacy provided by teletherapy is simply because you will no longer have to attend your session at a public office building, rather from the privacy of your own home. Moreover, it is common for patients to experience anxiety in the waiting room of a therapist’s office, much like the anxiety felt before a dentist or doctors appointment. Having the opportunity to explore the process of therapy in your home, without the additional anxiety, may provide you with a more satisfying therapy experience.
Insurance May Not Cover
While many states now require insurance providers to cover online therapy in the same way they would traditional therapy methods, this may not always be the case. It is important to check, specifically, with your insurance provider and policy to see your coverage options.
As with anything virtual, there will always be the possibility of technical glitches and difficulties during your teletherapy sessions. This is undeniably the biggest con of teletherapy. Frozen screens, echoing, low-resolution video feeds, and dropped calls are not conducive to the therapeutic experience and may make it more difficult for your therapist to gauge accurate body language and reactions. Overall, this can make teletherapy feel less personal and potentially more stressful if you struggle with technology.
Crossing State Lines
Most states do not allow out-of-state therapists to provide services. In other words, you will probably still have to find a therapist that is licensed in your home state to provide you with teletherapy. This eliminates the excitement of trying out any therapist you may find on the internet, but remains a legal barrier you would have to face regardless of what kind of professional therapy you are seeking.
Not Appropriate for Serious Psychiatric Illnesses
In general, the scope of online therapy can be limited. Again, the talk-and-listen therapy approach is the one best emulated in teletherapy. If you are dealing with more complex or severe symptoms of a mental health illness, or if you have a serious addiction, teletherapy alone will not be sufficient enough for your treatment plan. Some people require closer, more direct treatment and/or in-person intervention depending on their conditions. If this is the case, teletherapy may not be the best option for you.
Contact a Therapist
If you feel teletherapy may be the right choice for you, and you are dedicated to your therapy experience, it is time to find a therapist near you who offers online therapy options. At Life Balance Therapy, Chriselda Santos, believes in focusing on your strengths and capabilities to help you grow and adopt healthy behaviors. Now providing therapy to all Texas residents through teletherapy, Chriselda is dedicated to expanding her client base and providing her clients with the quality, compassionate care you deserve. For more information or to book your first online session, visit the Life Balance Therapy website.