Is online counseling a better option than traditional therapy?
Online counseling is a type of psychotherapy and it is also known as e-counseling or cyber counseling. It allows the patients to consult their doctors over the internet while being at their homes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this online therapy has got a peak because people forced to stay home led them to depression, and they could not go personally to consult doctors, so they took their session through video, phone calls, and chat widget.
The concept of online therapy began in the 1980s with the debut of “Ask Uncle Ezra,” a mental health counseling service designed by Cornell University personnel for students. Several other online treatment services popped up over the next five years or so, but there is already a slew of them.
Difference Between Online Counseling And Traditional Therapy
The fundamental difference is the communication method between them. You have to visit your doctor in traditional therapy. So this therapy is detected as nonverbal therapy. Patients use their body language and vocal tones to make the communication effective with the therapists. On the other hand, Online counseling is more challenging for the therapists, and the therapists have to be more technological to understand the nonverbal clues of patients.
Everything has its pros and cons. To understand things more clearly, we should look out the pros and cons of online counseling and traditional therapy.
Pros Of Online Therapy
Frequent contact method with a therapist:
Many people need to chat with their therapist more frequently, like every day. They cannot wait for a week to consult their therapists. Online counseling helps clients and therapists to communicate multiple times according to the requirements of a patient.
Convenient therapy method:
Online counseling is as far as sending a text or making a phone call. A patient doesn’t need to change the schedule because of a hectic routine or overloaded work. If you are taking therapy on texting, then you don’t even need to schedule a session.
Selection of therapists:
When you go on the internet for counseling, you have a bigger pool of therapists. You can select any therapist according to your pocket and your problem, and now you are free to discuss your problems on a video or audio call and even on texting.
Many methods of communication:
Many people are not confident to talk about their mental health in personal with their therapists. Online counseling helps the clients to express their feelings and thinking through texting, video call, audio call, and asynchronous or real-time communication. They can use any mode of communication at any time.
On the internet, many online counseling websites don’t ask about your identifying information, and you don’t have to give your name or home address. These online counseling websites only require your email and method of payment.
A great option to bridge distances:
Online counseling provides the patients an opportunity to bridge distances and allow them to join the counseling of family or couples across the distances-a problem that many people face in traditional therapy because making a schedule of counseling for family or couples is so challenging, especially when some of them are members of the group traveling.
Cons Of Online Counseling
Online therapy benefits are the traditional therapy prons. Here are some of them that are under discussion:
Lack of In-person interaction:
Some people like in-person interaction for better counseling. Therefore for effective communication, patients use vocal tones and body language with their therapists. They don’t prefer online counseling and are happy to go with the nonverbal method of therapy (Traditional Therapy).
Not enough to resolve severe mental health issues:
To treat severe mental health issues, people need in-person therapy. Otherwise, these people can create problems for themselves and others. These people need proper attendance and care that cannot provide through online counseling. Online therapy is effective to suggest supplements according to the patient’s health requirements.
Some forms of therapy cannot conduct online:
Some therapeutic methods are impossible to conduct online, and these are mentioned here:
Art therapy, Drama therapy, Expressive Art therapy, Animal-Assisted psychotherapy, Music Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR).
Cons of Traditional Therapy
Difficulty in scheduling and commuting:
It can be challenging to commute to work during business hours. Because you may need to request time off from your boss, and you might not feel comfortable telling him or her it’s for counseling if he or she inquires.
The time spent commuting is a cost in and of itself. As if you don’t have access to a therapist’s office near your home or workplace, then it could add two hours or more to your day.
You’re out of luck if you can’t meet the in-person therapist you want during the periods he or she is accessible.