Do you have reservations about online therapy? Do you feel like your therapist won’t really “get” what you’re trying to say if you’re not physically in the room with them? I’ve been in therapy for a few years, and I hated the idea of online therapy so much that I had never tried it, until COVID forced my sessions onto a virtual platform. While I hated the idea, I actually didn’t mind it at all once I got started! Online therapy has definitely grown on me a lot over the last few months.
- Schedule flexibility: Since you won’t have to factor in travel time anymore, you’ll have a lot more flexibility in when you can schedule a session. I’ve even done a few during my hour lunch break from work! Even if you finish work at 5PM, you can feasibly attend a 5PM session, as opposed to waiting until the 6PM hour to account for getting there.
- Often cheaper: This will depend on your specific insurance plan, but most plans will count virtual therapy as a telehealth appointment, which is generally cheaper than an in-person appointment. Also, you no longer have to pay for gas to drive, or public transport fares to get there!
- Better than no therapy: In a time like now, where face-to-face therapy isn’t possible, we are lucky to have technology that gives us the option of virtual therapy. I would much rather do a few months of online therapy than nothing at all!
- My own space: I have loved being able to do therapy from within the comforts of my own bedroom! I generally sit on a beanbag in the corner of my room while I talk to my therapist. Since my depression can sometimes make me want to lay in bed all day, it’s easier to go to therapy when I don’t have to leave my room, let alone the house. My cat also likes to cuddle with me while I talk, which helps keep me calm, content and focused.
- Safe space: Make sure you create a comfortable environment for your session. If you are worried about being overheard by other household members, it could put you on edge for your whole session. I’ve done a fair few sessions from the comfort of my parked car, and they’ve been great!
- Software privacy: My therapist uses a private software to conduct their sessions. If you have concerns about privacy, for example if you are using much more broadly used software such as Zoom, feel free to raise those concerns with your therapist! They will most likely be amenable to creating a solution that you feel comfortable with.
- Familiarity: It may take longer for you to feel comfortable and connected with your therapist, especially if you are beginning therapy online and have never met them in person. But don’t worry: if they are the right fit for you, that relationship will develop over time, despite being conducted through technology.
Although I prefer face-to-face therapy and will most likely transition back as soon as it’s safe to do so, I am much more open to the idea of doing virtual therapy now than I was before COVID hit. It’s nice to know that in the future, I can always do a virtual session if I’m away on vacation, or feeling sick and not able to go into the office! I’ll always be able to prioritize therapy and my mental health, regardless of the environment I’m in.
Have you done online therapy before, either before or during the pandemic? If so, what has your experience been like? If not, would you be open to trying it?