How Effective Is Online Psychotherapy For Video Calls?

If there is one thing that characterizes the world of the Internet and audiovisual electronic devices, it is that their functions have greatly diversified in recent decades. Who was to tell us 30 years ago that a computer could be used to go to therapy? And yet it is: today, online video call therapy is a reality.

This, however, might attract the attention of those who view the psychotherapy process superficially, as sitting in front of the computer presents a clearly different picture than sitting in front of a psychologist.

What is happening is that scientific research on this topic shows that this difference is only apparent: even if the communication channel changes, online psychotherapy is equivalent in effectiveness to face-to-face psychotherapy. face, and the fact that in many cases it is cheaper is mainly because the professional faces less costs, and not because it is less useful for the patient. In this article we will see what are the aspects that explain the great effectiveness of online therapy by video call.

    Why is online video call psychotherapy effective?

    These are the main reasons why the effectiveness of online video call therapy is equivalent to the “traditional” one performed face to face with the psychologist.

    1. It is a very adaptable form of psychotherapy

    Online psychotherapy by video call it can be adapted to a large number of contexts; for example, it allows sessions to be interrupted even if the patient is traveling for a week, or even if one day he has to leave the practice later.

    It is true that there are material limitations, but these only appear in very specific cases where it is necessary to use materials that the patient does not have and which are in consultation with the psychologist; nothing that cannot be anticipated or modified by other intervention methodologies compatible with the online format.

    2. It allows to take into account the non-verbal language

    Not so long ago, most households did not have the option of having a video call service in which data transmission was smooth and picture quality was good.

    Fortunately, today that has changed a lot, and that’s why video call sessions without technical problems and in which you can see the other person with good picture and sound quality and in real time, they are completely normal, they do not surprise anyone. And this plays a role in the effectiveness of online therapy.

    Be able to see the non-verbal language of patients in real time allows psychologists to easily adapt their communication style to what they hear said, correctly deducing the real meaning of the sentences beyond their literalness, and knowing more about the emotional state of the interlocutor.

    Given that in psychotherapy it is essential to put patients at ease so that they can express their fears and concerns openly and wholeheartedly, it is fitting that research shows that online video call therapy is. effective: sitting down, the vast majority of non-verbal information expressed by the other person is captured by the camera.

    3. It allows the establishment of a good therapeutic alliance

    The therapeutic alliance is the link between therapist and patient that is established within the framework of the psychological intervention, both in the sessions and in the time that elapses between them, and in which an agreement is generated on the objectives to be achieved and the means. to use to achieve this. like that, it is linked to mutual respect and the feeling of identification with the other which, of course, is always reflected in professional treatment, not in friendship.

    If it is appropriate that both are only treated at times when there is a time set aside and it has been agreed in advance to work on the problem affecting the patient, the therapeutic alliance is reflected also when the latter lives his daily life. life without the direct supervision of the professional and without speaking to him at the moment.

    And does the therapeutic alliance this is largely what enables the patient to engage in the therapeutic processKnowing that this will require you to step out of your comfort zone and make short-term efforts to benefit in the long term. This link with the psychotherapist is the drive that helps the patient to progress and achieve the goals of therapy, that is to say a source of self-motivation and confidence in a professional trained precisely to help him in these cases.

    In online video call therapy, we have seen that the strength of the therapeutic alliance is comparable to that which occurs face-to-face; in this sense, it has a fundamental advantage over other forms of remote psychological intervention, such as chat sessions with psychologists. In the latter, as there is no real-time exchange of audio and video, it is more difficult to “connect” with psychologists, knowing that the treatment is more impersonal and distant.

    4. It offers additional discretion

    For many people, it is a real challenge to go to a place they are unfamiliar with and start talking about their life and the things they would like to improve. Although psychology centers try to offer discretion and always offer the option of speaking to the psychologist in quiet rooms where privacy is available, the truth is that it cannot compete with that offered by the online mode. line, because in the latter it is not even necessary. to approach a health center or a psychology center or office.

    This is why in some cases the patient is able to relax further by feeling that he is going to therapy without leaving a place he knows well. When patient care can focus only on getting therapy right, without paying attention to anxiety, results are better and treatment is much more likely to work well.

    Are you looking for professional psychological support?

    If you are having a hard time and there are aspects of the way you think, feel or behave that you want to change, contact our team of professionals. Fr Advanced psychologists We have been working in the field of psychotherapy for over 20 years and we assist both in person in our Madrid center and through online video call therapy, if you prefer.

    In addition to offering individualized psychotherapy to people of all ages, we also offer other types of related services: couples therapy, speech therapy, coaching and psychiatric and neuropsychological care. You will find more information about our way of working (as well as our contact details) on this page.

    Bibliographical references:

    • Abbott, JAM; Klein, B. and Ciechomski, L. (2008). Good Practices in Online Therapy. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26: pages 360-375.
    • Canvi, D. (2008). The effectiveness of tele-mental health applications. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 53: pages 769-778.
    • Change, DJ (2010). Empirical evidence on the use and effectiveness of videoconferencing telepsychiatry: implications for forensic and correctional psychiatry. Social Sciences and Medicine, 71: pages 1308-1315.
    • Cohen, G. and Kerr, B. (1998). Computerized counseling: an empirical study of a new mental health treatment. Computer Science in Human Services, 15 (4): pages 13-26.
    • Gratzer, D. and Khalid-Khan, F. (2016). Cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of psychiatric illnesses. CMAJ, 188 (4) pages 263 to 272.
    • Rees, CS and Haythornthwaite, S. (2011). Telepsychology and videoconferencing: challenges, opportunities and guidelines for psychologists. Australian psychologist, https://doi.org/10.1080/00050060412331295108

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