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Online therapy, also known as teletherapy, online therapy offering patients mental health services on the internet. Patients can interact with doctors through online service.
Online therapy, sometimes referred to as e-therapy, distance therapy/counselling or tele-therapy, has become an increasingly popular choice for individuals seeking care.
Clients and therapists alike are embracing this new modality because it fits with today’s electronic, on-the-go lifestyle. In fact, online therapy is becoming one of the fastest growing areas of therapy and the demand for services is coming from both clients and therapists alike.
But while it opens new possibilities, mastering this new method of communicating with clients can be challenging…
Online therapy is convenient. Because it is electronically based, services can be provided anytime or anywhere eliminating the need to drive to an appointment, parking and then being seen in an office.
The cost per session is often significantly lower because of the accessibility and flexibility this mode of service delivery offers.
The increased flexibility makes therapy available to those who may have limited mobility or are geographically isolated. Under-served areas can now receive services not previously available.
This new mode of service delivery is offering therapists a new revenue stream and a new way to reach potential clients previously inaccessible to them.
The low overhead means that therapists can spend more time on service delivery and be more likely to be able to sustain a practice.
Some third party payers are starting to recognize the need and value of electronically-based counselling in some instances.
Some therapists were early adopters and jumped in with both feet. Others have been more hesitant, wanting to understand more about the risks, benefits, and how-to’s of such a new way of providing care.
Let’s be honest, when many of us were in training, the idea of conducting therapy online was not even an option. Even with the birth of the internet and subsequent availability of real-time online communication (like Skype), the idea of online therapy still evokes some ethical and procedural questions.
Licensing boards have been scrambling to put standards of practice in place and distance counselling training programs are popping up all over the place.
This article is not intended to debate the pros and cons of online therapy. It is clearly not for every therapist or for every client. However, it is a new reality in therapy practice.
This article is intended to pull the curtain back on online therapy and provide the reader with some of the best resources currently out there and a few things to consider.
You, as the therapist, can read, evaluate, and decide what is right for your practice.
What is Online Therapy?
For many therapists, this is the number one question. Online therapy is a relatively new treatment option and one which is only now beginning to get attention in graduate school programs.
For those of us trained before the age of the Internet, it sounds like a whole new treatment universe. And in some ways it is.
Simply put, online therapy is the provision of mental health via the Internet.
These services may be delivered using a variety of electronic mediums including video chatting, texting, emailing or voice messaging. And these services may be provided through any number of systems or apps.
Some services have proprietary systems. Others use traditional web-based services such as Skype, text or designated email.
Studies have found that more and more clients are willing to enter into Internet-based therapy and in fact, may actually be more compliant with that modality than with face-to-face sessions (Day & Schneider, 2002).
What’s even more interesting is that text-based therapy may result in even greater compliance and positive therapeutic outcomes (Hull, 2015).
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This page was last updated: 02 September 2020