Work “Online Therapy? Really?” Even though I’ve been practicing online therapy since 2010 I still get this response from people — even other therapists. Personally, I’m surprised that they’re surprised, given how common it has become over the last few years — not to mention all the benefits that it brings to the therapeutic process.
I’ve been specializing in online therapy for years now, and I have clients all over the world — from Denver, to Dusseldorf, to Dubai. I meet with people in the privacy of their own homes to help them dig deep, overcome self-limiting patterns, and make amazing new things happen in their lives.
Here’s what I tell people who are curious about why I practice therapy online:
1) Online Therapy Works.
And that is not just my opinion. Over the last few years, as online counseling is becoming more commonly practiced, suspicious researchers have been poking at it to make sure that it’s effective. They are finding that:
- The effects of online therapy are longer lasting, and slightly more effective, than those of face-to-face therapy for treatment of depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2013
- People have the same levels of satisfaction with online therapy as with face-to-face therapy, and online therapy is just as effective. American Psychiatric Association, 2007.
- People suffering from PTSD who received online therapy showed greater reduction of symptoms than people who had traditional, face-to-face counseling. Six months after treatment started, the online therapy group continued to have better results compared to the in-person therapy group. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2007
- There are fewer hospitalizations among veterans who met with their online therapists for therapy than through face-to-face therapy. Psychiatric Services, 2012.
2. Online Therapy Has Advantages Over Traditional Therapy.
Therapy is not an event— it’s a process. As anyone knows who’s been through it, “being in therapy” is a very special time of life when you’re open to exploring yourself, making new connections, trying to do things a little differently, and ultimately making new choices. It’s like opening up for a period of time, rearranging the furniture in your interior landscape, and then zipping back up again to head forward on a shifted trajectory.
During the period of time that people are actively doing this hard work, they need support to keep moving forward. In my experience, people who are able to meet for therapy regularly seem to get far more out of the process than people who meet for therapy occasionally. The drumbeat of regular meetings provides consistent reinforcement that gives you traction against bad feelings, motivation to do the work, the space you need to process feelings, and the support you need to move through your change process swiftly.
3. Travelers Need Online Therapy
And of course, there are also many people I work with who have to travel all over the place for their jobs. If we didn’t meet for therapy online, they would simply never have the opportunity to do the important work that they need to do on a consistent basis. I work with consultants, sales reps, and educators who are all over the place. I’ve seen the inside of hotel rooms from all over the country, and most of Europe. Note: Romania does not have awesome internet, and it’s truly a hassle to schedule online appointments from Australia.
4. Online Therapy is the Future Of Therapy.
I don’t know about you, but in the 90’s I was deeply suspicious of email. I thought, “WHY would anyone even use that?” I scoffed at the idea of cell phones. And at that time I was still actually in the habit of hand-writing checks and licking stamps to send off bills. I know. I’m that old.
My point is that, now, life is unimaginable without email, cell phone or online bill pay. The thought of fooling around with answering machines and stamp-licking feels as efficient as having to start a fire with a flint and a pile of wood shavings instead of a lighter. To me online therapy is one of those same things that felt slightly surreal in the beginning but now feels indispensable.
I’m not the only one — check out this NPR segment on Online Therapy.
5. Online Therapy is International
Another great thing about online therapy is that I’m able to meet with you no matter where in the world you are. Since I specialize in online therapy, many of my clients aren’t even in Colorado. They live across the nation, and internationally. I have clients from Dusseldorf to Dubai, and meet with more than a few “location independent” Tech Nomads — and I love it.
6. Online Therapy is Not For Everyone.
I do think that online therapy is great. But I am also very sure that it’s not for everyone. There are many people who simply want to feel the “sacred space” of the therapy office and the intimacy that comes with an in-person meeting. And for people who want that, online therapy is not the right choice. If that is your truth, I am happy to report that I have wonderful therapists on my team who would love to meet with you in person at our Cherry Creek or Westminster locations.
There are also situations where it is better for you to work with someone in person as opposed to online. While online therapy is wonderful for people who are looking to gain self awareness and make positive changes in their lives, may not be the best choice for you if you are struggling with a mental illness — particularly if you live outside of Colorado. When we meet for our free consultation we can talk more about what’s going on, what you’re looking for, and then decide of online therapy is right for you.