How to get rid of the prejudice towards online therapy

Luckily, going to therapy is becoming something as everyday as going to the physio or private lessons, it’s starting to feel more like self-care. There is more awareness about mental health and psychological suffering is stopped without remedy. But what about online therapy?

Despite the fact that in the wake of the 2020 pandemic, the web will become popular in many areas of life, maintaining an online session with a psychologist still has some hurdles to overcome. Issues such as human presence and proximity, price, or the security of your space are of concern, a concern that eventually becomes prejudices that make it difficult to decide to take the plunge and start treatment.

If you think you should seek professional help, you may consider doing so in person or online and the latter will produce some rejection. Well, you must know something: the first step to freeing yourself from your fears is to know them thoroughly and, precisely, that is what you can do in these lines. Let’s go.

The prejudices surrounding online therapy

It is true that, despite the immense digitization of our time, to stand in front of a face on the screen and tell it that we are in pain is still something that seems artificial. However, time is scarce and so is money and doing it from home feels comfortable. So what’s stopping you from getting started? Let’s see some of the prejudices that surround this type of therapy.

1. Anyone can grab a webcam and call themselves a psychologist.

It is true that scammers do exist and they pop up like mushrooms when needed. However, a psychology professional working online will still be able to provide their qualificationyour membership number and your experience.

2. Online therapy is not a safe environment

Stripping your mind and coming into contact with unpleasant emotions in front of a monitor is something a lot of people resist, and it makes sense. A priori, it is impersonal, since the information is limited by the limits and the quality of the camera. What prevents someone outside the corner from listening or recording without their consent? These fears are normal and understandable.

But a good professional who works online is subject to the same ethical codes than those who practice the face-to-face modality. To respect the privacy of patients, secure platforms are used, which encrypt the data and allow the content of the sessions to be revealed in no way to third parties.

3. The relationship with the psychologist is not as close

The therapeutic alliance is built through trust and connection through dialogue. A good professional should be able to connect with how you feel and guide you appropriately and safely on your path to recovery and personal growth. This ability is real both online and in person, as it depends on the skills of the psychologist and the disposition of the patient.

Just as a long-distance friendship can be real, the connection between the patient and the therapist is able to give the same good results as face-to-face sessions. It’s just about being aware of the environment you’re working in and taking advantage of all the tools that the digital way offers.

4. The online psychologist can advise you, but not provide you with complete therapy

The person assisting you online has the same qualifications as any psychologist who does face-to-face therapy. It is true that the tools used may vary, the duration of the treatment may change, etc. ; that is, it works in a different way, but the effectiveness is the same. Think, for example, of a phobia of cockroaches. To gradually expose yourself to this fear, a first step could be to observe them on a screen or via virtual reality.

Also, what you get in therapy is not advice, but guidelines to guide you towards your recovery. These are studied steps, based on research and experiencethat guide you to where you want to go so you can follow the path.

5. Online therapy is not valid for couples or families

This is another of the prejudices surrounding online therapy. However, adapting a session so that several people attend is not difficult, just use the right tools and platforms. It is also possible that the duration of the session must be adjusted, since the number of participants is greater.

Regarding confidentiality, family and couple arrangements are the same as face-to-face. Remember that a psychologist is obliged to keep his patient’s secrets, either in a group or individually.

6. Going to the psychologist is useless

Online therapy carries the same stigma as face-to-face therapy, with the addition that, going through a screen, it is accused of being like a webinar or even a blog post. Without embargo, nothing more: a blog entry, an explanatory video or any informative content never delving into the patient’s personal problem.

Online treatments are specific to each person and delve into their emotions and issues to levels impossible to capture in informative content. The effectiveness of treatment will depend on the quality of the therapist-patient alliance, the skill of the psychologist and the disposition of the individual, as well as the difficulty of the case. But, however good the psychologist, if the patient does not want or does what he has to do, he will not progress. It is then that the psychologist is blamed, deciding that it is useless.

Benefits of Going to Online Therapy

Now that you know the stigma around this therapy modality, you might be wondering: if it can be as good as on-site treatment, what’s the difference between going for one or the other? The truth is that some people might benefit more from the remote modality than others. It is possible that this is your case, so pay attention to the following sections.

1. Save time and money

Over time, the expression “time is gold” takes on more and more meaning. Working with schedules that are impossible to reconcile, domestic chores, travel times in large cities that do not drop below 45 minutes… In the end, thethe search for time has become as important as monetary income.

This is why online therapy is an advantage in both cases. You save time, since you only have to connect to your device instead of moving, with the monetary savings that this implies. In addition, many professionals offer more affordable prices, since they do not have to cover expenses such as renting a physical space.

2. It has no geographic or time limits

Combining the in-person modality with the online modality is a great advantage in times of changing schedules, pandemics have become palpable and people want to engage in their treatment. For example, if you need to do a follow-up session but need to travel for work, you won’t have to cancel it if you can do it online.

3. It is an advantage for people who want to avoid direct contact with others

For some people, sitting in front of someone who has to weigh the information given to them, in someone else’s office and after walking through a waiting room is too stressful. Many potential patients are reluctant to seek professional help for this reason.

However (and especially in the first sessions), make contact in a familiar environment and according to the emotional needs of the patient, like your own home, is more comfortable. Online therapy is becoming a preferred option for these profiles. Trust and safety are two key words to describe the therapy in line.

4. Online therapy benefits from many digital resources

Well chosen and used, tools such as recordings, presentations, digital diaries or tracking applications can become a perfect complement in therapy. It’s just a matter of adapting to them.

5. It is as safe and effective as traditional therapy

Although it has already been explained before, it must be insisted: online therapy is effective and does not pose any risk for the safety of the patient, nor for your data either. When looking for a psychologist online, ask the same as you would ask for their face-to-face equivalent.that’s to say:

  • Your member number.
  • A secure platform, which encrypts data and has tools to prevent session content from reaching third parties.
  • A psychologist capable of creating a climate of trust with you.
  • Have specialized training in the problem you wish to address.
  • That a document of compliance with the Data Protection Act is signed.

As you can see, online therapy is no better or worse than face-to-face, but like any treatment, it needs to be adjusted to what works best for you. Online media does not make therapy different, but adds value to it. When it comes to improving your mental and emotional health, there are no limits, just different paths. It is your decision to choose which one will lead you to your goal.

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