Virtual Therapy has become quite popular in recent years -- while it once was the only way to connect with your therapist through the COVID pandemic, it has since become the preferred method for people seeking mental health services and here you will understand why.
What is Virtual Therapy?
Virtual Therapy is just as it sounds -- it provides the same mental health support as in-person therapy, just in a different setting.
People often assume that they will not receive the same benefits in virtual therapy as they would receive through in-person therapy, and my response is often Why? Whether your therapy service be in-person or virtual, the registered/qualified therapist you work with will be equipped with similar therapeutic methods of setting goals, providing a safe space to explore emotions and thoughts, developing coping skills and strategies, and being a support to you as you work through various life challenges. Therapists are able to utilize these therapeutic skills through both in-person settings along with virtual setting. When contemplating what works best for you, it really boils down to the setting in which you are most comfortable.
If you are considering expanding your reach to various services offered and want to discover if virtual therapy is the right fit for you, continue reading as we uncover some of the benefits to seeking virtual therapy.
6 Benefits of Virtual Therapy
Seeking out therapy services, whether in-person or virtual can be a daunting process. People will often have many questions and/or worries regarding the process -- What should I expect? How do I plan for my therapy sessions? How does the therapeutic process work?
With virtual therapy, you may find further comfort by being in your safe space, sitting curled up next to your dog or with a cozy blanket which may lessen the anxious thoughts and/or worries as you begin your therapy services.
Let's further break-down why virtual therapy may be right for you:
Accessibility: There are many physical barriers to accessing in-person mental health services. You may live in a rural area or not drive with no way to get to the clinic. You may have a disability and/or illness and trying to make it to your appointment may add to your stressors. Or, you may not be able to leave your home due to the low moods you are experiencing. With Virtual Therapy, we erase the physical aspect of leaving your home, travelling to a certain location, travelling back home and having to do this on a recurring basis.
Time/Connivence: Let's face it, life can be pretty hectic as we balance school, work, raising a family, being social with friends and just about everything in between. Adding extra therapy appointments with travel time in between may only add to your stress. With virtual therapy, you may have your appointment just about anywhere there is wi-fi or data connection and you feel comfortable. This includes at home, in your parked car, outside in your backyard, etc.
Comfort: Opening up to a new therapist can feel really scary. Sometimes by adding the little things such as being in your own home, sitting on your couch with a cozy blanket, or not having to enter into a public therapy clinic you may feel more safe and secure about being open and vulnerable with your therapist.
Selection: Depending on where you live, you may only have a select few therapy clinics offered to you. By utilizing virtual therapy, you may expand your reach to find a therapist that is best suited to your needs. There are various search engines that allow you to filter through types of therapy, pricing of therapy and any specialties you may want to focus on. Having a wide range of therapists to choose from will be beneficial in receiving what you are looking for form therapy.
Scheduling: Most virtual therapy clinics offer online booking for their clients. This allows you to take control of your therapy services. Maybe it is 2am and you are struggling to sleep with anxious thoughts running through your mind. In that moment you realize, maybe it is time to talk with a therapist to work through some of these anxious thoughts -- with virtual therapy, you are able to go online and book a time to talk with someone that following day. Making the process of talking with your therapist to discuss your anxious thoughts more convenient and accessible.
Privacy: Worried about who you may run into at the physical office? Or maybe you prefer talking about your thoughts/feelings within the privacy of your own home. Virtual therapy adds a sense of comfort within privacy for some. You may also have security measures in place such as password protection and encryption services, adding that extra layer of privacy.
Although there are many positives to receiving virtual therapy, there are also some downfalls you may want to consider.
Downfalls of Virtual Therapy
Similar to most decisions, it is beneficial to weigh your pros and cons before deciding what is best for you. To support you in discovering if virtual therapy is right for you, let's uncover some of the downfalls of virtual therapy.
Technical Issues: Due to the virtual nature of these services, you may experience issues with your wifi or data connection, potential issues with the software used for the therapy services, or having older technology devices that is not keeping up with the requirements of said software. Even with the best wifi/data services and newest devices, you may still experience technical issues. It is important to discuss with your therapist what would happen if you experience technical issues- such as rescheduling, troubleshooting etc.
Body Language/Space: For some, it may feel challenging to connect when only able to see the top half of the therapist and some of the room they are in. It may pose challenges in the emotional connection or allowing ourselves to be open and vulnerable. This is something for you to reflect on by thinking of past exchanges with people and what environment you have felt more comfortable in sharing your thoughts/emotions.
Unqualified Services: Similar to seeking any online service, it is important to ensure the credentials of said service provider to ensure you are not falling victim to an unqualified professional. While seeking out a therapist, it is important to have access to their registration number with the regulatory body in which they practice. For example, in Ontario for social workers, they would be regulated by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and your therapist should provide their registration number upon request as well as within various documentation.
Is Virtual Therapy Right for You?
Virtual therapy has many beneficial aspects such as accessibility, convenience, comfort, therapist selection, open scheduling and privacy. It is important for you to consider and weigh the various factors of virtual therapy to ensure it is the right fit for you. I always encourage starting with a consultation with the therapist of your choice to gain an understanding of the way they practice, what to expect in your therapy sessions and any information to keep in mind with the way they hold their virtual sessions.
Ultimately, it is about inner reflection on what will work best for you throughout your healing journey.
If you are living in Ontario, Canada and would like to book a Free Consultation with Bee Kind Counselling, please follow the link below to book online.
Phone: 519-757-7842 ext. 1