4 Advantages of Online Therapy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
What is Online Therapy?
Within the past several months, mental health treatment in the US has shifted from nearly all face-to-face therapy sessions to almost exclusively teletherapy sessions.
Online therapy, also known as teletherapy, telepractice, or telehealth, is the online delivery of professional services from psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health professionals, counselors, and social workers through video conferencing. Throughout the United States, online therapy programs have gained immense popularity as a source of support in an otherwise isolating environment.
Advantages of Online Therapy
In response to the pandemic, the CDC has advised psychiatrists, psychologists, and all other licensed mental health providers to take steps to provide remote services. Additionally, relaxed regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and insurance companies have expanded patient access to online therapy, allowing new and current patients to meet with healthcare providers over online platforms.
Many of us are understandably experiencing increased mental or emotional strain brought on by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, so reaching out for mental health support is a smart choice. Whether you’re looking to migrate your therapy sessions to an online platform or start therapy for the first time, online therapy can help you find comfort and strength.
1. Online therapy is convenient.
With a growing sense of anxiety, uncertainty, and isolation, many people who did not previously feel a need for mental health services are finding themselves unsure of how to deal with the current pandemic. While finding a new therapist may seem intimidating, the current situation is an opportune time to take advantage of low-threshold access to care. Teletherapy patients don’t have to worry about commuting from office to office, or searching among the limited number of clinicians near their work, commute, or home.
Convenience, which can make or break a patient’s decision to seek care, is also a key benefit associated with telepractice. Teletherapy allows patients and therapists to agree on their chosen treatment time and communication method—online video, text messages, live chat, or phone calls—that work for their situation. To access online counseling from home, all teletherapy clients need is an internet connection.
2. Online therapy is as effective as office-based therapy.
The current situation can be incredibly isolating for individuals dealing with pre-existing mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorders. However, it is possible to maintain a robust digital support network. Over the last decade, teletherapy has slowly grown as a delivery model for professional health care services. That slower growth meant ample time to study its effectiveness. The bottom line is that research has found them equally effective.
3. Online therapy allows patients to access a more comprehensive selection of therapists.
In response to the pandemic, the United States Department of Health and Human Services relaxed constraints that made it quite difficult for healthcare providers to meet with patients digitally because of privacy concerns under HIPAA.
With relaxed HIPAA regulations, accessing online therapy is less complicated and more convenient than ever. According to the American Psychological Association, relaxed HIPAA regulations create opportunities for people to more readily access mental health care.
Teletherapy clients can also enjoy a more extensive selection of therapists with increased access to online therapy programs. Patients in rural areas can access teletherapy from the comfort of their own home instead of commuting to the closest provider who might be an hour or more away. Or, if you’re seeking private practice therapy in a city or need a specialized mental health treatment approach to support your specific needs, teletherapy allows more choices for you.
4. Online therapists are dedicated to supporting their patients.
The current pandemic has forced millions of people to avoid close contact with the people they interact with every day. With understandable paranoia and concern and an uncertain timeline, it’s normal to feel stressed and anxious.
Online therapy can serve as a source of connection and support in an environment that feels otherwise isolating. If you’re suffering from stress, anxiety, or burnout, teletherapy can help you manage your mental health and stay connected with the support you need.
Online counseling can also help patients maintain relationships from a distance. From couples therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a licensed therapist can help you foster healthy relationships even if you’re physically apart.
Finding an Online Therapist
If you’re experiencing stress, anxiety, or burnout related to the current pandemic, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. At the Therapy Group of DC, we’re committed to providing online mental health services to new and current teletherapy clients. We know that it can be challenging to come to terms with the evolving uncertainty of the current situation, and our years of experience as a leading therapy practice have prepared us to offer you dedicated help and support during this time.
Our current teletherapy patients tell us that the transition to teletherapy has been relatively smooth. They also mention how it’s allowed them to focus on feeling and doing better while dealing with both stress and monotony. Using HIPAA-compliant systems, we’re readily able to offer the best online therapy programs for our patients.
Online therapy can serve as a powerful support system, especially during periods of acute stress. Although the transition to online therapy may feel uncomfortable at first, one of the experienced mental health professionals at the Therapy Group of DC can help you feel less alone and learn how to cope with the new and unsettling circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.