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 as:
“…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?
- Flexibility/Accessibility: people with disabilities, location, schedule or transportation issues benefit from therapy that does not require a trip to a physical location and waiting for an appointment to begin. It reduces travel time and related stresses for the consumer. Online therapy not only improves consumer access, it extends the geographic reach and expertise of clinicians.
- 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 in their own space.
- 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.
- Improved Quality – Studies have consistently shown that the quality of healthcare services delivered via telehealth are as good as those given in traditional in-person consultations. In some specialties, particularly in mental health, telehealth delivers a superior product, with greater outcomes and consumer satisfaction.
How common is online therapy?
It is a significant and rapidly growing modality of care in the United States and utilization rates are rising. According to a 2018 JAMA study, annual telemedicine visits have increased at an average annual compound growth rate of 52% from 2005 to 2014.
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.
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).
Azy Barak, Liat Hen, Meyran Boniel-Nissim & Na’ama Shapira. (2008). A Comprehensive Review and a Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Internet-Based Psychotherapeutic Interventions. Journal of Technology in Human Services. Volume 26, 2008 – Issue 2-4, Pages 109-160.
Leslie A. Morland Psy.D., Margaret‐Anne Mackintosh Ph.D. , Craig S. Rosen Ph.D. , Emy Willis B.A. , Patricia Resick Ph.D. , Kathleen Chard Ph.D. , B. Christopher Frueh Ph.D. (2015). Telemedicine Versus In‐person Delivery Of Cognitive Processing Therapy For Women With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Non Inferiority Trial. Commentaries On The Institute Of Medicine Report On Evidence‐Based Psychosocial Interventions., 783-860, November 2015.
Is my session private?
I work with clients securely via a trusted, secure, HIPAA-compliant online therapy platform. 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 online therapy 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.