Does Online Therapy Work? Here’s What Science Says
The compulsion of social distancing might have kept you from attending you therapy sessions, your university classes, or getting together with your friends. This may make you stressful, left with your own thoughts at times and you tend to overthink when you are alone. However, there is always the option of online therapy or tele-therapy in this era of technology where you can not only see your therapist, but also attend the session from the comfort of your home or room.
Many people have found relief through online therapy and have stated it to be better than in-person therapy because of the convenience, no travelling, and the option to attend sessions without your family members or friends having to know about it. However, many are still reluctant in taking online counseling because they might feel that it is not as effective as in-person therapy and counseling sessions. Here is what science says about online therapy and its effectiveness:
What does science say?
One of the biggest concerns regarding online therapy is that the therapist cannot observe the patient. The body language and voice tone changes that portray the well-being of the individual cannot be assessed through online channels.
However, one major component of therapy is the relationship between the patient and the therapist. Online therapy is anonymous and allows the patient to open up about themselves. They also have the option not to share the video which may help them to disclose feelings that they might be reluctant in sharing if the other person is looking at them.
Despite the concerns, research consistently shows that online treatment can be very effective for many mental health issues. Here are the results of a few studies:
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders found that online cognitive behavioral therapy is, “effective, acceptable and practical health care.” The study found the online cognitive behavioral therapy was equally as effective as face-to-face treatment for major depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
A 2016 study by the Portland State University found that the medium of communication does not hinder the working alliance. Therefore, online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy.
A 2012 study published in the Public Library of Science found that online cognitive behavioral therapy was as effective in treating anxiety disorders as routine clinical practice. Treatment was cost-effective and the positive improvements were sustained at the one-year follow-up.
During the pandemic whether or not you might be seeing a therapist earlier, if you feel that your mental health is deteriorating, online therapy is a viable option. ReliveNow is offering free 15-minute online sessions through its virtual clinic through which you can assess whether or not online therapy is the right option for you during this time.