After an unconventional year in a global pandemic, most people have had at least one telehealth visit with their primary care physician. If you’ve had a check-up with your regular healthcare provider, you already have a good idea of what web-based therapy is all about. The same way you met with your physician online in a video chat, web-based therapy services involve meeting virtually with a psychologist or psychiatrist for online therapy to address mental health. If you’re curious to learn about how therapy platforms like Talkspace and Betterhelp work, read on to learn the ins and outs of teletherapy.
What is virtual therapy?
Web-based therapy is simply the process of receiving online therapy services through virtual therapy on a therapy platform, app, or through a video session similar to a Zoom call. While different therapists have different techniques for how they use their online platforms, most can provide a virtual therapy session after scheduling an appointment and sending you a link through your email. As a client, your only concern will be to click the link from a mobile device or your computer. After turning your microphone on and handling any other technical issues that might come up, your therapist will begin a therapy session the same way they would in person.
Will my information be private online?
Licensed therapists are required by law to protect a client’s privacy. While therapists in different private practices have their own policies to ensure patient privacy, they are taking precautions to ensure that therapy sessions and data are secure. Where one therapist might purchase an IPv4 block for secure data collection and transfer of client information, another will use platforms specifically designed for work in a therapist’s office.
Rest assured, it would be unethical for a therapist to offer cognitive behavioral therapy, or any other form of treatment, without precautions around patient privacy. If you still aren’t sure, have that conversation with the therapist you hope to see. Part of building a therapeutic alliance is about transparency, and this is a moment where you can build trust with your therapist.
Can teletherapy really help?
There will be minor differences between an online therapy session and one in your therapist’s office. The difference between online therapy and in-person therapy is simply a change in content or context but not process. That is, while you’ll be on your couch instead of your therapist’s, and there’s a chance technical glitch may come up, the overall therapeutic experience will be similar to what you’re used to. More importantly, the outcome of your online or in-person session won’t be any different. If you’re motivated to change and work through your issues in person or face to face, you’ll be in that same position with online therapy.
If you’re hesitant about trying online therapy, or it’s your first time considering seeing a therapist, the best way to handle your reservations is to make a call to a local clinic, private practice, or community service agency to ask about therapist availability to speak with you about your concerns.
Ultimately, we’re fortunate to live in a time when technology allows us the option of virtual therapy. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions and regulations, in-person therapy isn’t possible for everyone. If you are someone who can’t leave the house or who simply feels more comfortable with a phone call or video chat due to the pandemic, don’t hesitate to reach out to an online therapist for help. Your online counselor will be able to offer the same treatment in virtual therapy as they could in person with minor adjustments. By seeing a mental health professional now, rather than waiting, you’ll have a better chance at feeling better soon.