There has been a boom in the last few years in the awareness, offering, and requests for online therapy services. And it makes sense! Think of the world we’ve lived in the last few years: waves of the pandemic necessitating waves of quarantining ourselves in the midst of a high stress situation, and continued political unrest.
Of course there would be a need for mental health services that adapt to the times, and telehealth became a welcome solution for those seeking care at different high points in the pandemic.
And while there are many reasons from the pandemic to scheduling that can make telehealth an appealing solution, we still believe there’s something special in in-person sessions that can’t be replicated digitally.
What’s so great about in-person therapy?
Telehealth is a great solution for those times when getting in person care isn’t feasible; but that doesn’t mean it’s a flawless platform. Unfortunately, with the nature of video calls, there’s a lot of communication that’s missed; through poor video or sound quality, the inability to see a full body, delays in sound, internet cutting in and out, etc. If you’ve ever left a telehealth session frustrated because you felt like half of your time was spent repeating yourself or asking your therapist to repeat themselves because of technical issues, you know what we’re talking about!
Communication isn’t just what we’re saying, it’s every part of how we’re interacting with who we’re talking to. What is our body language? Is our voice wavering? Are we blushing or avoiding eye contact? These are things you can’t pick up on with telehealth. You may be able to see someone shifting a bit, but the small frame doesn’t allow you to notice what their body below the shoulders does, or if they struggle with eye contact or if certain topics make them blush and fidget, etc. All of this is information that helps your therapist learn more about you.
If you live alone, this may be easier to achieve, but it can be hard to get total privacy when doing telehealth in the same way you do with in person sessions. Not many of us have completely sound-proofed rooms at home where we can go to have our session, so we’re left hoping anyone else in our house is honoring our need for privacy and listening to something else to eliminate the possibility of overhearing us. However, sometimes just the worry of someone overhearing–even if in reality all your roommates are wearing noise canceling headphones–can prevent you from diving into something you may need to talk about. In our offices, there’s a guarantee of privacy in a neutral environment so you can explore anything you need to, without worrying about who is listening.
Limited service type options:
Online therapy isn’t a one size fits all solution to therapy in general. It can be a great option for people who need access to talk therapy services and don’t have providers in their area, but what about other types of therapy? Things like art therapy, play therapy or sand tray therapy can’t be administered via telehealth.