5 Benefits of Online Therapy
Learn about 5 benefits for accessing therapy online vs. in an office setting.
Research shows that 80% of people search the internet for a therapist, but most still select an in-office therapist. While 15 years of research backs the evidence that online therapy is just as effective as in-office therapy, information about the benefits are rarely publicized.
This article explores 5 benefits of using online therapy to access mental health care.
5 Benefits of Online Therapy:
1) Quality Care:
Therapists who work online are subject to the same legal and ethical standards as all other licensed therapists in their state. The only difference is that therapists who work online are also required to have additional competence in TeleMentalHealth practices. Online therapy also allows for the option of face-to-face services, which is more similar to an office setting. These “real time” sessions allow the client to have natural conversations with the therapist, respond to body language, and facilitate rapport.
Most states now require insurance providers to cover online therapy just as they would traditional in-office sessions. This means online therapy can often be accessed at the same insurance rates. Additionally, therapists who work online are typically able to offer lower fees than therapists with an office, due to less overhead with an online business. Some may also offer sliding scale options to those with financial need, in order to create more accessible care in the community. Finally, online therapy also eliminates additional client costs, which previously would be associated with travel time and gas, thus making online therapy even more affordable.
Not everyone has access to licensed therapists in the city where they live. Some people live in remote places where very few, if any, mental health workers. Additionally, in some rural areas there are conflicts of privacy when the only professionals are also associated with the same church, friends, or family members. Online therapy allows people to have significantly greater access to qualified professionals. With online therapy, people are able to find a therapist that has an expertise in any particular issue, treatment modality, or diagnosis. A larger pool of trained therapists allows people to find specialist, rather than generalists, to address their specific needs. Additionally, online therapy creates greater accessibility to individuals with disabilities or physical limitations by removing the barrier of having to leave home to access support. Research continuously indicates that the factor which matters most for therapeutic success is -- finding a therapist you like and trust. By not being limited to a geographic area, people can choose from a much larger pool of licensed therapists to find the best fit for their unique values and needs.
Many people spend years considering therapy before actually deciding to try it. An online setting allows people to access support from the environment they feel most comfortable in, like home, work, or other private locations. For many, this makes therapy easier to access. Since online therapy is remote and private it’s also often felt to be less-threatening or easier for people to access who have never tried therapy before. For many, this leads to an increased feeling of safety, a higher level of honesty, and more freedom to share their personal stories with the therapist.
5) Flexible & Convenient
For many, simply finding time to get to a therapy can feel impossible. Online therapy fits the needs of people’s busy schedules because they can have a session during a lunch break, while their baby naps, while their kids are at soccer, or while traveling for work. Online therapy is also time saving. Individuals don’t have to commute, find parking, or get time off work to attend. Additionally, therapists who work online often have a wider range of hours available to clients than an office or clinic setting can accommodate.
It may not be long before those 80%, who used the internet to search for a therapist, transform into those who use it to access direct therapeutic support. Online therapy not only overcomes the many barriers that previously precluded others from seeking therapy, but is the most adaptable and inclusive therapeutic option. With increased access to information about the benefits of online therapy, there won’t be anything holding the world back from accessing quality mental health care.
Laura Myers, CLC, LMFT
Psychotherapist & Life Coach