Online psychotherapy is the modality of remote psychological consultation, using audio and video platforms to facilitate communication and closeness between therapist and patient. However, there are situations in which only audio or even text messages are used. However, the latter are only recommended in a timely and brief manner, due to the limitations in the communication process, since effective communication is essential for the construction of the therapeutic bond with the psychologist and to establish trust with the patient.
In the past, brief online psychotherapy was recommended, but with all the changes globally, especially due to the travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, coupled with the increase in psychological distress due to confinement, it has become an indispensable tool for mental health. Moreover, the uncertainty regarding the end of the restrictions seems to indicate a new modality of work.
Is online psychotherapy effective?
The effectiveness of online therapy is the same as face-to-face therapy because what is important is the frequency and duration of the sessions, as well as the therapeutic alliance, that is, the bond between patient and therapist. Therefore, no changes are usually observed in the duration or number of sessions and, therefore, neither in the patient’s response.
If written material is available, it can be sent to the patient to be filled in before or during the session, or even sent beforehand, which also facilitates communication and optimizes time.
For which patients or conditions is online psychotherapy recommended?
All people can benefit from online psychotherapy but it is especially recommended in case of impossibility of displacement, travel, moving to another city or even to another country. In these last cases sometimes looking for a therapist who speaks the native language or who has also had the experience of living in another country, for adaptation or even cultural issues, can be very important in the therapeutic process.
It is also very useful for people who have little time and do not want to lose it with the displacement, even you can have more flexible hours, depending on the patient’s needs and availability of the therapist.
On the other hand, it is a therapy that can be performed with children, there are very effective therapeutic strategies, such as apps that simulate some processes, making them more interactive even virtually. It is a tool to add to the usual ones, such as drawing material, toys, plasticine, rag dolls, among others. In this case, the previous contact and collaboration of the parents in preparing the environment and also the child for the session are fundamental.
What other advantages does online psychotherapy have?
It is a very comfortable modality at a general level and facilitates the accessibility to this type of service, eliminating possible complications, such as those mentioned above: time, displacement, motivation or predisposition.
However, it has even more advantages, because for someone with depression or anxiety, for example, it is sometimes very difficult to make the effort to call to make an appointment, travel to the consultation or ask someone to accompany you. Therefore, having a therapist just a click away can make the process much easier and even give greater confidence when starting therapy.
Nowadays almost everyone has an internet connection and uses social networks with increasing frequency, regardless of age, as, in part, it can help bring people closer together, allowing them to share a number of everyday moments that were not possible before. The same happens with a series of services, in this case technology allied to health, which is becoming a powerful resource that combines speed, efficiency and ease, as well as being affordable in a comfortable and safe way, also saving on transportation costs.