The Inside Scoop – Online Therapy
I did my first online therapy session as a client on Skype a few years ago, after I moved from Boulder, Colorado to Portland, Oregon. I hadn’t found a practitioner in Portland yet and really needed some support. As I worked with my online psikolog therapist, I realized that we were able to accomplish the same work together as we would have in person – much to my own skepticism. A few audio blips and momentary screen freezes aside, I got what I needed.
As a therapist myself, it dawned on me that, like it or not, this web-based healing was going to be big. As it is a part of my current practice, I wanted to outline what I deem to be pros and cons of using online therapy today, in hopes of supporting potential new clients along their paths.
The biggest advantage of online therapy to me is that both practitioner and client have the opportunity to work in a setting of their choice. This affords the client to feel comfortable and relaxed, which, in turn, can lead to more openness, and thus, more results.
Second is that online therapy is often more affordable.
Third, and maybe most important, online therapy allows people who wouldn’t normally put themselves into an office setting to gain valuable support. This is becoming more and more important every day, in my opinion, as our world becomes more dependent on technology to connect us.
Level of human contact – are we furthering ourselves from deeper contact in relationship by seeking support? For many people, the intimacy created in the therapeutic relationship is the most significant in their lives. This can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how the therapist and client work to integrate the growth from their intimacy into the client’s life. One of the longest-standing criticisms of individual therapy is that much of the work that happens in the office between client and therapist is less (or non) transferable to the “outside world. ” So, many of us are curious about this perspective with regard to online therapy, as it could, for some, further the intimacy gap.
Technology errors – Audio/Video/Internet limitations can not only cause annoyance and disruption of individual sessions, but can be potentially damaging for clients in crisis. For this reason, I recommend clients who are in most immediate need of support, to put themselves in a situation where technology is not a limiting factor!
Overall, I believe the emergence of online therapy and coaching resources will add to the quality of support and personal development on a cultural level. I would encourage anyone who is curious about pursuing counseling or coaching with online means to browse many practitioners websites, ask for a phone conversation first, and ask to see documentation before committing to the work.