What is online therapy?
Remote communication between therapist and client is not a new concept. Sigmund Freud communicated with his clients using letters and self-help groups first appeared on the web as early as 1982. Telemental Health (or online therapy) as defined by the State of Georgia Secretary of State is:
“…the mode of delivering services via technology-assisted media, such as but not limited to, a telephone, video, internet, a smartphone, tablet, PC desktop system or other electronic means using appropriate encryption technology for electronic health information. TeleMental Health facilitates client self-management and support for clients and includes synchronous interactions and asynchronous store and forward transfers.”
So what does that mean? Online therapy is when you communicate remotely with a therapist through the internet using a computer, tablet, smartphone, or any other device that has an internet connection.
What are the advantages of online therapy versus in-person therapy?
- Accessibility: people with disabilities, location or transportation issues benefit from therapy that does not require a trip to a physical location and waiting for an appointment to begin.
- Communication: online therapy is easier for people who have trouble communicating, have social anxiety or are trauma survivors. Some people feel more comfortable opening up when they are online.
- Convenience: online therapy allows people to communicate with their therapist on their own schedule.
- Confidentiality: unfortunately there is still a lot of stigma associated with therapy and mental health issues. As a result, people may worry about in-person therapy for fear they may run into someone they know. Online therapy solves this problem.
- Lower cost: online therapy does not have the same overhead as in-person therapy and so these savings often translate into reduced session rates.
Does online therapy work?
Research shows that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in addition to eliminating traditional barriers to therapy, is just as effective when delivered online as in-person counseling. Researchers found online CBT effectively reduced symptoms of depression and other mental health issues. In some cases, online CBT was even more effective than in-person therapy.
Online counseling that relies primarily on video sessions has proven to be the most effective form of online therapy because it closely mimics in-person therapy-without the inconveniences. Many studies demonstrated that online therapists were able to build the same relationship with online clients as in-person clients.
Linda Godleski, M.D.; Adam Darkins, M.D., M.P.H.; John Peters, M.S. (2014) Outcomes of 98,609 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Patients Enrolled in Telemental Health Services, 2006–2010 https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.ps.201100206
Wantland, D. J., Portillo, C. J., Holzemer, W. L., Slaughter, R., & McGhee, E. M. (2004). The effectiveness of Web-based vs. non-Web-based interventions: a meta-analysis of behavioral change outcomes. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 6(4). http://www.jmir.org/2004/4/e40/
Is my session private?
I work with clients securely via a trusted, secure, HIPAA-compliant online therapy platform (Telehealth/Simple Practice). Online sessions are conducted in your private client portal using any computer or device with a camera and microphone. A phone application is also available. You will enter a private virtual therapy room via a secure url link sent prior to your first session. I will then initiate the session at the scheduled time.
Will my sessions be recorded?
None of our appointments will ever be recorded or otherwise stored.
Do I need special equipment?
To participate in Telehealth appointments from your home, you will need one of the following devices:
- Desktop computer with a webcam, speakers, a 2.5 GHz processor, and 4 GB of RAM OR
- Laptop computer with built-in webcam and speakers, a 2.5 GHz processor, and 4 GB of RAM OR
- Tablet device with built-in webcam and speakers, OR
- Smartphone with at least iOS 10 or Android 6.0
- (Note: To use a smartphone, you must first download Telehealth by SimplePractice – available for iOS or Android in the app store.)
- You will also need an internet connection that is at least 10mbps. For optimal results, a reliable, high-speed internet connection with a bandwidth of at least 10 mbps will minimize connection issues and provide the best quality.