Let’s face it, the entire world has changed. We don’t know for how long, and if we’ll ever be back to what we used to call “normal” again. During this COVID 19 pandemic, these big changes have been a shock to the emotional system. Grief, sadness, anxiety, depression, fear, and panic are just some of the symptoms many of us are experiencing. Now, and for some, more than ever. Some of us have sick family members or friends or have lost loved ones. Some of us have lost income and work, or are struggling to support a spouse or kids who have suffered losses due to the virus.
Online therapy is not new, and it’s not new to our practice.
I’ve been doing phone and video sessions for several years. Usually, it’s been a way to have a session when a client can’t make it in person. But, several clients over the years have been video or phone only.
Online therapy works. And, it works well.
There has been research done to compare online with in-person therapy. The conclusions are promising and clear. Online therapy, for some clients and some therapists, works just as well as in-person counseling. It depends on the type of client and therapist.
- This article refers to a study showing that online therapy was as effective as in-person for treating depression. Researchers were using CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
- The magazine, Vice, did a nice write up of the pros and cons of online therapy here:
Pros and Cons of In-Person Therapy vs. Online Therapy in New Jersey
For me, I find there to be pluses and minuses. Many of my clients seem to be more open and comfortable online. You may want to meet with me from your own home. In your own safe environment. Perhaps, wearing sweatpants and putting your feet up. The lack of formality and comfortable setting makes for a good connection.
With video therapy, I can see my clients close-up. In ways I’ve never seen them before in the office. Their facial expressions and body language are sometimes easier to see and read on-screen.
And, these are also barriers for some clients. Being home can be stressful. The trip to the therapy office is sometimes a respite from the chaos at home. Online can be more of the same depending on the circumstances. The safety and sense of confidentiality of the office are less obvious in an online setting.
What kinds of Online Therapy do we offer for New Jersey?
A word about online couples counseling. My experience has been that the same pros and cons of individual apply to couples with online therapy. I have found that the intimacy and closeness of the screen can sometimes be more intense than in the office. Which, in my opinion, is actually a good thing.
Couples also seem to have a harder time “going off the rails”. Less likely to start engaging in their usual, non-workable behavior when they’re at home talking to me. Yet, sometimes it’s the opposite. I get to see how a couple REALLY is rather than what they present in the office. So, it goes both ways. In Relational Life Therapy (RLT) we say normal is what goes on at home and healthy is what we do in the office. So is often also true in online counseling for couples.