The global pandemic ushered in dozens of new practices that are now commonplace: masks, social distancing, increased sanitization, videoconferencing events and so much more. If you’re like countless other Americans, it’s likely you’ve switched another activity to the virtual realm: therapy.
While there are surely perks to in-office mental health sessions, many people found that teletherapy was more comfortable and convenient. If you’ve come to prefer teletherapy and are worried it might fade out of fashion as the world opens back up, here’s what you need to know: teletherapy is here to stay. Here’s why.
Teletherapy is effective
According to the American Psychological Association, mental health services delivered virtually have proven to be just as effective in the treatment of mental health disorders as in-person services. There is significant evidence that teletherapy works to heal many conditions with a variety of demographic populations.
Teletherapy works. It’s important to note, however, that some individual cases are best treated in-person. For example, if depression or an eating disorder becomes life-threatening, medically supervised treatment should not be replaced with online counseling.
Teletherapy is accessible
Due to the widespread availability of internet access, people who experience roadblocks to access can now receive much needed teletherapy. For example, those in remote or rural locations or those who don’t have a practicing clinician who speaks their language nearby can now receive services online.
Not only is teletherapy much easier to access, it’s also more flexible. For those who work at odd hours or who have an inconsistent schedule, teletherapy offers connection to a wider pool of providers so more people can get the care they need.
Teletherapy is a necessary service
From an economical standpoint, teletherapy is in demand, so providers will find a way to continue offering the service. If one location were to stop offering teletherapy, it’s likely clients would just switch if they wanted to stick with online meetings. Logistically, it makes more sense to keep the service available.
Additionally, as the population of people seeking therapy grows, providers may opt to service more clients virtually due to the convenience and flexibility it provides. It’s a system that benefits both you and your health care providers.
Teletherapy is a low-stakes intro to continued services
A large number of people began teletherapy during the past two years. Although a significant portion was due to the fact that in-person services were limited, there were also many people who started therapy for the first time. Online therapy is seen as less threatening and more comfortable for those inexperienced in psychotherapy.
According to an article by the American Psychological Association, when patients have a positive first experience with digital services, they may continue to more intensive services and in-person options, and studies have shown this to be true.
What does the future of teletherapy look like?
For numerous reasons, telehealth is here to stay. To ensure that you’re taking full advantage of virtual therapy, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Check out these tips for continuing teletherapy.
Look for secure sites
Therapy is a very personal matter, and people may feel vulnerable discussing their life over the internet. To ensure privacy in your conversations, you’ll want to make sure you’re only using secure and encrypted sites.
One of the easiest ways to find out whether your provider is using a safe platform is to check whether it’s compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA is a federal law that mandates adherence to standards of privacy regarding sensitive health information, including that relating to mental health disorders.
Stick with it long enough to build a relationship
Because teletherapy occurs on a virtual platform in the comfort of your own home, it tends to feel more casual. While this perspective has its own benefits, it can also make it feel permissible to change therapists frequently or attend less often.
If you plan to pursue teletherapy long-term, it’s important to prioritize regular attendance in sessions and stick it out with your therapist long enough to form a positive relationship, which is a major agent of change in healing.
A study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology examined the effect of the therapeutic relationship and found that even more than the framework of treatment, the quality of the alliance between the client and the therapist was indicative of positive clinical outcomes.
Get connected with people who care
Like all online goods and services, teletherapy can feel less personal. When you’re looking to connect with mental health professionals, it’s important that you find a team that cares about you and your wellbeing.
When you start treatment, make sure the people on your team are compassionate, educated, experienced, solution-oriented and professional.
If you’re struggling to find teletherapy that checks all your boxes, you’ll want to learn about Rehab After Work. With in-person and virtual options, you can find the care you need in the setting you want. Call today.