Differences and Similarities Between Online and Face-to-Face Therapy

While in recent years online psychotherapy has already seen rapid expansion in popularity with psychotherapists and patients, the onset of the 2020 pandemic has only accelerated this progression.

Today, this form of psychological intervention is more established than ever and is even well known to people who have never been to a psychologist and do not even plan to do so in the near future. Now … what are its defining characteristics, what separates it from conventional psychotherapy?

Throughout this article we will see a summary of the differences and similarities between online psychotherapy and face-to-face psychotherapyA very useful thing to know what to expect from this type of service.

    What are the differences between online psychological therapy and face-to-face therapy?

    These are the main differences between online therapy and face-to-face therapy, whether in a psychology consultation or at a larger health center.

    1. With online therapy, there is no need to travel

    This is probably the feature that stands out the most when it comes to online therapy: it is possible to use it without leaving home, Whenever you have an Internet connection and an electronic device capable of connecting to the network, with screen and camera. This saves time, effort and, in many cases, money as well.

    2. The communication channel is different

    Another major difference between online psychotherapy and face-to-face psychotherapy is that in the first format, the communication channel is a digital platform, while in the second case, the interaction takes place in the same room. This implies that the patient should have a minimum of knowledge when using the electronic device and the video call interface, but fortunately its operation is simple, and in any case psychologists help to resolve doubts.

    3. Online therapy provides a familiar space for the patient

    From the first online psychotherapy session, it can take place in a place that the patient is already familiar with, since there is no need to go to a place they had not been before. This makes patients, in a subtle and semi-unconscious way, tend to be more relaxed and more open to explaining their problems., Which accelerates the dynamics of the therapeutic process.

    4. Online psychotherapy offers a little more anonymity and discretion

    How to use therapy online, you don’t need to go to a psychology office or see a psychotherapist, but you just need to look for a quiet and reserved place with an internet connectionThis provides additional anonymity when seeking psychological support. Although fewer and fewer people today oppose recognition of their intention to undergo psychotherapy, this is a characteristic that remains important for some patients.

    5. The online format offers greater accessibility to psychological support

    Due to the differences between online and face-to-face therapy, many of which are beneficial to those who choose the former format, psychotherapy can affect more people. For example, people who, because of their state of health, where they live (isolated from large urban centers or poorly connected to them) or their financial difficulties, do not have the means to go to a center. psychotherapy on a weekly basis.

    Similarities Between Online Psychotherapy and Face-to-Face Psychotherapy

    These are the aspects in which online therapy and face to face therapy in front of the psychologist are similar.

    1. They have a comparable level of efficiency

    If you have the right technical requirements regarding the quality of the electronic device and the Internet connection (which is the case today for most Spanish households), the effectiveness of online psychotherapy is basically the same as that of face-to-face psychotherapy, Except in special cases, such as pediatric therapy with young children.

    2. The professionals providing the service are accredited psychologists

    The type of training for psychologists who practice therapy online is the same as for those who offer face-to-face psychotherapy. In all cases, they are university graduate psychologists, specialized in therapy..

    3. These are services that require an appointment

    Both online and face-to-face therapies are based on sessions that must be agreed upon before taking place, because in order to deliver them, psychologists need to be able to prepare them in advance and make sure they have a gap in their agenda to devote time to them consistently over the weeks. Which brings us to the next point.

    4. Its duration is the same

    Another similarity between face-to-face psychotherapy and online psychotherapy is related to its duration. They are never based on one or two sessions, nor do they last for years. To help patients overcome the problems they come to in consultation, they must engage in therapy for several weeks or months, Without skipping sessions.

      Would you like to benefit from professional psychological support?

      If you are looking for psychotherapy services, in person or online, contact us. Fr Advanced psychologists We have been helping all types of patients for 20 years and currently serve in both formats, either face to face in our center in Madrid or by video call. On this page you can see our contact details.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Gratzer, D. and Khalid-Khan, F. (2016). Cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of psychiatric illnesses. CMAJ, 188 (4) pages 263 to 272.
      • González-Penya, P., Torres, R., De el Barri, V., and Olmedo, M. (2017). Use of technology in psychological practice in Spain. Infocop.
      • Simon, GE; Ludman, EJ (2009). It’s time to break new ground in psychotherapy. The Lancet. 374 (9690): pages 594 to 595.

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