Is Online Therapy as effective as Traditional Therapy?

Online Therapy

Online Therapy has gained a massive increase in popularity after the COVID-19 pandemic. This is mainly due to in-person restrictions.

However, more people are turning to e-therapy than in-person therapy. 

Research suggests that 91% of people in online therapy are satisfied with the results. They agree that more people should go for online therapy. 

But before deciding which one is best for you, try weighing the pros and cons of both of them.

What is Online Therapy?

Online therapy involves mental health services delivered over the internet. It uses tools like email, online chat, messaging, video conferencing, and text messaging.

Online therapy is also famous as e-therapy, e-counseling, and teletherapy. Nowadays, online therapy platforms can be accessed using desktop, laptop,

A few of the online therapy platforms popular these days are:

  • BetterHelp
  • Talkspace
  • Brightside
  • ReGain
  • Calmerry
  • Teen counseling

Online Therapy:

online therapy on mobile

Pros:

  • Convenience:

It is convenient because it provides flexibility in scheduling. Moreover, you can access counseling from the comfort of your home.

  • Accessibility:

The online therapists will be accessible to you anywhere, anytime. There are no geographical barriers. It is also available in remote areas or areas with limited local resources. You can go for online therapy sessions if there are no traditional therapy centers around you.

  • Cost-Effective:

Teletherapy is more affordable than Traditional or in-person therapy. There are also no costs of transportation and time.

  • Anonymity:

Most people consider online therapy help because it keeps their identity safe. Most online therapy platforms don’t ask for personal information like your name. It is easier for them to open up and discuss their problems. 

  • Online Therapist Options:

 You can find a variety of therapists online. Choose a therapist who knows about the things you need help with

  • Perfect for those with Social Anxiety:

This method allows you to communicate through messages, eliminating the need to meet new people.

Cons:

  • Technology Challenges:

 Problems like weak internet or device issues can disrupt your therapy sessions. 

  • Lack of In-person Interaction:

Lack of in-person interaction can be tricky for some people. ideal for those who value in-person interactions and rely on non-verbal cues such as body language.

  • Security Concerns:

include worries like data violations or privacy problems. Users might feel uncomfortable sharing personal info online.

  • Not suitable for All conditions:

Severe mental health conditions like schizophrenia require in-person interventions. It is not a suitable approach for such complex conditions. 

  • Dependence on Technology:

E-therapy is solely dependent on your technology. Therefore, excessive use can lead to screen fatigue and other negative effects on mental well-being.

Traditional Therapy:

Traditional Therapy
Traditional Therapy Session

Traditional Therapy means meeting your mental health professional in person for therapeutic sessions.

It happens in a physical place where you and your therapist talk and interact face-to-face.

Pros:

  • Body Language:

It allows therapists to see and understand your body language and non-verbal cues better. This is important for making an accurate diagnosis. 

  • Immediate Feedback:

In traditional therapy methods, your therapist provides instant feedback and responses. This enhances real-time communication.

  • Structured Environment:

The therapy takes place in a structured environment. Here structured environment refers to the physical setting where therapy sessions take place. Therapy spaces are made to be focused and cozy. It reduces distractions, allowing clients and therapists to have conversations without interruptions.

  • In-person Therapies: 

There are a few therapies that cannot be performed online. You must attend a traditional therapy session for them. Such in-person therapies include:

  1.  Art therapy
  2. Animal-assisted psychotherapy
  3. Play therapy
  4. Drama therapy

Cons:

  • Price:

As said before, in-office therapy is expensive. It can cost up to $150 for an hour session. 

  • Fitting into the schedule: 

Taking out time for your therapy from your busy schedule can be hard. In-person therapy can be time-consuming. You need time to get ready, travel, attend the session, and then drive back home. You might also need to wait for your turn. This can be tiring and time-consuming.

  • Stigma Concerns: 

Our society has attached negative perceptions to our mental health. Most people avoid traditional therapy due to fear of stigma. This caused people to avoid their mental health concerns. 

  • Limited therapist options:

In rural areas, there might not be many therapists available with specific expertise. This limitation can lead to a lot of problems. Problems like not being able to find therapists who match your needs or cultural background.

Online Therapy vs Traditional Therapy

Upon examining the pros and cons of each method, it’s safe to say there is no right or wrong approach. This is a very subjective choice. It depends on your needs, convenience, comfort, and financial condition. You need to find out what works best for you!

You can attend either one or both simultaneously. However, e-therapy seems to be popular nowadays. Most people prefer teletherapy over traditional therapy. 

Portland State University did a study, comparing e-therapy and in-person therapy where online therapy scored higher in assessment.  

FAQs

FAQs about Online Therapy

How much does online Therapy cost?

Different online platforms cost differently. However, the average weekly sessions can go from $60 to $90 per week. 

A few of the best online therapy platforms with sensible prices are BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Brightside.

Can online therapy offer immediate support in crises?

Online platforms are not designed for such situations. In these situations, you must reach out to local emergency services or a helpline. 

Online services often ask you to schedule appointments with your therapists. Sometimes there might be no therapist available. In such situations, it is suggested to visit the nearest emergency room for immediate help.

Why is Traditional Talk Therapy more famous?

Traditional Talk Therapy centers around verbal interaction between a client and a therapist.  

In this approach, clients discuss their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with their therapists. The therapists assist in identifying thinking patterns and developing coping strategies. 

Traditional talk therapy is also known as psychotherapy. It is famous due to its flexible approach.

What are the types of Traditional Talk Therapy?

Some common types of talk therapy include:

  • Psychoanalytic Therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Humanistic Therapy
  • Existential Therapy
  • Person-Centered Therapy
  • Gestalt Therapy
  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
  • Psychodynamic Therapy

Is BetterHelp therapy a good option as an online therapy platform?

BetterHelp is a reputable and popular option for online therapy. However, choosing the right platform depends on your preferences and needs.

Moreover, betterhelp Therapy offers online therapy for teens, adolescents, and adults.  It also works on couple online therapy.

Betterhelp offers a variety of licensed therapists. It is still better to explore other platforms to make a final decision.

What are the platforms that offer online therapy free chat?

A few of the best free online therapy chats are eTherapyPro, 7 Cups, and Talkwithstranger.

Conclusion: Crafting Your Therapeutic Journey

In the debate of online therapy vs. traditional therapy, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The choice ultimately rests on individual preferences and comfort level.

However, both online therapy and traditional talk therapy methods aim to support your mental health and well-being.

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