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Offline or Online Therapy: Which one should I choose?

During the pandemic, there was a dire need for mental health counseling. The distress and uncertainty that came with the coronavirus found us all trying to access professional help. During this period, teletherapy took shape and continues to be a widely used therapy medium among therapy seekers and providers.

The primary distinction between traditional aka in-person therapy and online therapy is the medium of communication. In-person sessions take place in the therapist’s office, and you get to see your therapist in person. On the other hand, teletherapy can be carried out on an online platform either through audio calls, texts, or video calls.

Have you ever stumbled upon confusion regarding choosing offline or online counselling? Like all things in life, mediums of counseling too, come with its pros and cons. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about discourse regarding the shift from traditional to more modern accessibility where barriers can be broken and challenged.

What form of therapy is more convenient?

Traditional therapy does not allow you to be in the comfort of your home and log in a couple of seconds earlier. In that sense, it is not as practical as online counseling, where you can just log on, in your own time and space. It also allows one the flexibility of fitting in sessions into the day rather than planning your day around the travel.

Even in terms of accessibility, teletherapy can be helpful for those unable to leave their home due to a disability, lack of transportation, living too far from a treatment facility, or living in a remote area. These individuals can now access the mental health care they require thanks to online sessions.

Teletherapy also helps dampen the stigma associated with mental health, by accessing it from the privacy of your home. No one needs to know where you are going!

Which form of therapy is more effective?

Online counseling can offer the same level of care as in-person treatment. However, depending on your unique situation, you might discover that online counselling is not always ideal. Whether you have a severe mental health issue that needs more specialized care or you simply prefer to communicate in person. Further, it allows for the therapist to read through nonverbal cues such as body language, and eye contact and help well understand your needs. The biggest benefit of teletherapy is that it lessens stigma. People find it simpler to seek help when they can attend treatment in the comfort of their own homes. For some conditions such as severe OCD or psychosis, it would be crucial to observe the person. For some others like social anxiety or depression, people may find it easier to access help through an online medium.

Does my preferred medium make a difference in terms of cost?

One of the biggest advantages of online therapy is that it is cost-effective. While in many counseling centres the charges may be the same, transportation costs can be saved.

Further, it can also save a lot of time. Some therapists may even offer packages or provide student discounts, reducing the overall cost. An enquiry about the same, can always be made before booking your appointment.

Can I share a good rapport with my therapist through teletherapy?

While face to face interaction has its pros in terms of man being a social animal. It does not go to say rapport and trust cannot be built through an online medium. However, teletherapy does have its downsides and comes with the additional burden of you and your therapist depending on an internet connection. It’s possible for one or both of you to lose service, making it difficult for you to connect when you want or need to. It can involve trying to read between sentences and connecting the dots and can hinder with the client’s story. Rest assured, your therapist is equipped with the necessary skills to build rapport with you.

Will my privacy be maintained if I choose to tune in online?

Online therapy is covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This means that anything you disclose in therapy and your health information are both legally protected. Before making an appointment, enquire about encryption and data protection. The platforms you use must be HIPAA compliant. Apps such as zoom are HIPAA compliant.

While we are now aware of the different aspects of online and offline therapy, it boils down to choosing a medium that works for you, where you are able to benefit from sessions. Being able to see both sides, helps to make an informed choice and jump onto the wagon of leading a better quality life.

At Psychoflakes, we offer offline and online therapy sessions at affordable costs. Do not wait for the new year, be better today and book your first appointment with us 😊

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