In this article we’ll compare online therapy to the traditional method of delivering psychotherapy, i.e. seeing a counselor face-to-face.
Online therapy services are becoming increasingly popular these days. Are they better than the traditional face-to-face therapy method? Are they as secure? Are they as expensive? Should I try them out? Let’s take a look at these key issues.
It’s a bit difficult to say what is “good, better, the best” in psychology or therapy. There’re no absolute truths in psychology, only your individual needs and preferences. This means that instead of asking what is good or bad, it’s more to the point to inquire: “What kind of a therapy method would best suit the particular situation I’m facing, or help me deal with an issue that I’m trying so hard to find a solution for?”
Whereas online therapy is perfectly fine for many of us, there are many individuals out there who’d hate it for one reason or another. Some people just hate technology, others just don’t feel comfortably using it, others don’t trust anyone unless they’re face-to-face, etc.
There are also many reasons for not liking to see a counselor in his / her office. For example, it’s too time consuming to get over there to attend a face-to-face session. Or, it may be too frustrating to have to leave home and then rush back again, and always during the rush hour. It may also be completely impossible to see a counselor without others noticing it, etc.
If we look at the price tag, it’s online therapy that’s often the more affordable option. Indeed, online therapy services can be a very cheap option. There are reliable therapy and counseling service providers on the net who offer e-mail sessions starting at 20 USD per question. That is already pretty cheap for talking with a qualified professional.
If you’re on a very, very low budget, one option is to join a free therapy forum. Just be careful to not give out any confidential data. Another thing, remember that joining a psychology forum it’s not online therapy, really. Talking with strangers may help you, but it may also confuse you more. So, let’s be careful out there.
That brings us to the security issue. Whether you conduct online therapy or face-to-face therapy, there are security issues to be deal with. We often tend to think that if I talk face-to-face with my therapist, then it’s private. However, if the office room has paper-thin walls, and many do, then this is just an illusion. The same applies to online therapy. If your therapist is absent minded and tends to lose his personal belongings in public places, then it’s quite risky to be his client. Could this happen? Could a therapist really forget his laptop in a bar or taxi? Yes, it can, and it has happened.
Should I now go and try it out? Yes! Why not? If you feel good about technology, you could definitely try it out, or at least go and search for some more information about it. It’s quite a fascinating subject. The New York Times wrote about it (September 23, 2011), Psychology Today wrote about it (July 30, 2010), and of course, there’s a Wikipedia article about it. All this material is online and ready to be read at your convenience. Hey, that’s just one of the many virtues of online services!
This article was written by Mr. Timo Kojonen, M.Sc., M.Psych., MBA, the managing director of Therapion.com website that specializes in providing Online Therapy and professional Online Counseling Services.