Web Therapy, why have Therapy Online?
We are all connected
In 2020 we are more connected than ever in history. The internet, our phones, the portability of technology means we can have information at our fingertips, work, talk to loved ones, and have therapy from anywhere in the world.
Online therapy, web therapy, email therapy, virtual counselling, video counselling, remote therapy; whatever you want to call it, is a growing medium for counselling and psychotherapy.
Therapy traditionally has been face-to-face, you go to your therapist’s office and you meet with them there. You would have to factor in your trip there and back and the 50-minute therapy hour into your day. This has meant that often relying on having a good enough therapist nearby, rather than for the one who feels like the best fit. Or, needing to carve out several hours, even half a day, to be able to get to and from your sessions.
As things stand today we (almost) all have access to high quality video and audio on our laptops, phones, or other devices and are not tethered to cables or dial up to access the web. Advances in software as well mean that there are platforms that allow us to have secure, end-to-end encrypted communication safe in the knowledge that no one else is listening.
Having therapy online allows you to save time, money on travel, and have therapy from the comfort or your own home or office. It allows you to have complete confidentiality, and it allows you to pick the right therapist.
Is online, or web therapy, the same as face to face?
Simply put, no.
To be an effective counsellor and psychotherapist online requires training, competence and experience. That is why I undertook a specific training in 2016 to be a Certified Cyber Therapist with the Online Therapy Institute, and why anyone considering online work should be looking for therapists who are trained and recognised as online therapists by the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO). Clients and therapists have found this out the hard way. Therapists have realised they do not have the technical knowhow, and clients have felt distant and unsupported. Poor video and audio, time lost to poor signals and technical problems, experiences like this may mean clients decide that online therapy is not for them.
ACTO was set up in 2006 after therapists recognised the need for an umbrella body to recognise and support online work as a skilled and important field in counselling and psychotherapy. Being qualified in working online means your therapist knows how to safely and effectively communicate and work with you.
Some people worry that because you are not face-to-face that therapy is less effective. Studies have shown this not to be the case. Research consistently shows that online treatment can be just as effective. Like this study, this study , and this study.
You need a therapist who is skilled at overcoming any feelings of distance, one who knows the software and hardware, and one who is comfortable and competent working this way; so that you can concentrate on being able to take about and understand your issues, not worry about a dodgy Wi-Fi connection. The best web therapists will make you forget you are even using Skype, or Zoom, or email, and allow you to focus on your issues and your feelings.
If you would like to enquire about how online therapy might work for you, feel free to get in touch.
I look forward to hearing from you.