Telehealth can fill the gap when help is needed.
What is online therapy?
Online therapy is a form of telehealth, whereby mental health care is delivered synchronously and face-to-face using your computer, tablet, or other device. It is recognized as a legitimate means of receiving health care.
Is online therapy effective?
Online therapy seems to be effective for a number of conditions. For example, studies have shown that Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD is the most effective online treatment for OCD when compared to other online treatments. It is highly effective, whether delivered person or online. Researchers have examined bibliotherapy (self-help books), telephone-delivered therapy, computer-aided therapy, online self-help groups, and videoconferencing. One-on-one therapy delivered online is more effective than these other approaches.
Why online therapy?
The problem is that some of the specialized treatments we offer are not available in many areas. For example, according to research studies and our clients, it can be hard to find a qualified specialist provider outside of urban areas. Furthermore, sometimes people are looking for a therapist who has unique characteristics, such as someone from their own religious group, who speaks a language other than English, who has a common history (i.e., combat veteran), or some other shared identity. It can be hard to find just the right person near you, and so online treatment is often used instead.
How does online therapy compare to in-person therapy?
We do prefer to see you in person — there is nothing like sitting down together face to face. But it is our experience that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy, depending on the severity and nature of the symptoms. The clinician will conduct an in-depth and detailed assessments for each client to determine if online therapy is the right choice for a given person. Options are in-person, online, or a combination of both. The clinician is also able to discuss the pros and cons of each approach.
Is online therapy difficult to use?
Not at all! Most clients find that the application we use (Vsee) is very easy to use and manage. They also note that their conversation feels natural and comfortable, as if they were attending an in-person psychotherapy session.
What technology is needed for online therapy?
We do our therapy using VSee, which is similar to Skype, one of the most popular video-call services. VSee is more widely used in the business field and has a reputation of being very secure and confidential. For Vsee, you will need to download and install the free app on your computer. We encourage patients to do this in advance so they can start their appointment on time without having to wait for the software to install. You will need a computer that has a camera and microphone built-in, or you can use an external web cam and microphone. We recommend a headset or earbuds, like the kind you use on your cell phone. You will need good internet for these to work. If your picture is not clear or your sound is poor, make sure to close all other apps on your computer that use bandwidth, like email, browsers, YouTube, etc. If your picture and/or or sound completely breaks down, you can always log out and then log back in.
Who is a good candidate for online therapy?
Anyone with a computer and who is willing to make an effort may be able to benefit from online treatment. You will need to ensure that you have a space for therapy that is quiet and distraction free; therefore people living in dorms with several roommates may not be the best candidates. Depending on the severity of your condition and distance from our clinic, we may also need to coordinate care with a provider near you.