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Online Therapy: Does it Work?

The short answer is "yes". Talk to your therapist to see if online therapy is suitable for you.
By Katrina Rozga CCC MC (Psych)

With the novel coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong, it is more important than ever to understand that support for mental wellness is still accessible, available and effective. Most practitioners encourage in-person attendance as often as possible. However, online therapy is very much a viable option to avoid breaks in your treatment, or seek help for a new problem.

If you are reluctant to go out in public at this time, are traveling, are a busy working individual, suffer from anxiety that prevents you from leaving your home, or are otherwise home bound, be assured that online therapy can work for you.

Talk Therapy is Effective Online

There is substantial research about the effectiveness of talk therapy. It has been proven to be able to change our thought processes and allow for the reduction of symptoms associated with a variety of mental health issues.

New studies have begun exploring whether the same positive effects are possible via online therapy. Preliminary studies have been resoundingly positive, suggesting online talk therapy offers the same benefits as in-person treatment. It has been proven to be especially effective in the treatment of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as other mood-related problems.

Check with your therapist regarding your specific situation. Not every case can or should be approached in an online format. Individuals who have severe mental illnesses or need extensive support are not good candidates for online therapy. Your therapist will help make this decision.

For those who are a good fit, you can be confident that many practitioners feel certain in their ability to present the same information, form the same connection, and reach the same results through online therapy.

Flexible and Confidential

One of the concerns about online therapy is confidentiality. Purpose-built platforms exist for this specific use. Speak to your therapist about what platform they use, and inquire about what measures (ex. end-to-end encryption) are in place to protect your privacy.

At your end, be sure to have a suitable place to sit for your session that is quiet, private, and comfortable. One of the advantages of online therapy is that it can be very flexible. It allows you to choose a time when no one is home, or outside of the usual hours that offices are typically open.

What About Kids and Teens?

Many interventions for kids are activity-based rather than talk-based. Online therapy may not be ideal for younger children where interactions and activities underlie treatment methods. That being said, with the right preparation, the right platform, and the help of an adult, online therapy can be helpful and effective for children. Speak to your therapist about online therapy for your child.

Teenagers may actually prefer online services as they are often more comfortable on their computer than in person. Online options can be especially helpful in getting a reluctant teenager to seek help. Not having to worry about travel time and allowing them to access services from home is a useful tool for a worried parent.

If you need help and guidance for any number of mental or emotional issues, consider online therapy. You may find it is a new form of support that works for you. But just like in-person therapy, online therapy requires a connection and trust between therapist and client. If your first choice doesn’t work for you, try another therapist until you have found someone with whom you you feel comfortable.

Ready to try online therapy? The BFDC can help. Learn more about our online therapy service HERE.