I’ll get right to the point. Online therapy works. Whether you call it online therapy, e-therapy, virtual therapy, or internet counseling, it works.
How do I know? I know because I’ve provided online therapy sessions for my counseling clients for several years.
Based on my experience, I can tell you without a doubt that:
- Online therapy is healing and supportive. It’s just as effective as in-office therapy when it come to healing from the inside out.
- A strong person-to-person connection does happen through online counseling.
- Healing and expanding confidently into your offline world happens through online therapy.
I’ve been seeing English-speaking clients in my Stockholm office for 12 years now. I added in online sessions to fill the gap when they were traveling for business, or I was out of the country.
In fact, I have clients whom I’ve never even seen in my Stockholm office. We’ve only had therapy sessions online. My office is their office. Or living room.
Is online therapy right for you?
Of course, online therapy isn’t for everybody. That goes without saying.
But for the most part, I think virtual therapy sessions can work for just anybody.
It’s almost easier to talk about who online therapy won’t work for.
Who shouldn’t do online therapy?
If you’re not sure if online therapy is right for you, look over this checklist.
- If you are currently in crisis. If your situation is urgent, call 911 or go to the emergency room. If you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, or you don’t feel safe, you need critical care that can only be provided in a physical clinical setting.
- If you aren’t motivated to do the work. Working online with a counselor won’t do much for you if you’re not going to put in the intensive effort therapy can require.
- If you can’t commit to creating an emotionally safe space in the real world. You’ll need to share and have access to help on your side in case of an emergency. You’ll also need a calm and quiet place to meet.
- If technology is just too frustrating for you, or you just don’t have reliable access to tech. You’ll need some computer know-how to make virtual therapy work. You’ll also need an actual computer (or smartphone) and internet access. I meet with my clients via a secure video conferencing service, so a web camera and headphones are also required. If all of that sounds like too much for you, then online therapy is not for you.
- If you’re just not comfortable doing emotionally challenging work with someone who isn’t physically “there.” You know in your gut if you’ll struggle to open up to someone who isn’t right there with you. But, in this case, I would urge you to try it out before voting no. If you click with the right therapist, you may find it’s not such a problem.
What are the benefits of meeting with a therapist online?
The best advantage to online therapy is obvious: flexibility!
With online therapy, you can:
- Meet from anywhere in the world! All you need is an internet connection and some gadgets.
- Meet from the comfort of your own home.
- Have more scheduling options for appointments because you don’t have to commute to an office.
- Find a therapist who matches what you’re looking for. You’re not limited to the services offered by local therapists.
- “See” your therapist quickly, usually within 24 hours if it feels like a crisis in your life. I can make myself available online to any client in a crisis within 24 hours. Other therapists may have a different time frame in place, so be sure to ask.
Or, as one of my clients puts it:
“I was really amazed at how well the video conferencing worked, especially since I am a person that really appreciates in person meetings. However, it really felt like Beth was sitting right in front of me and the quality of our session was not compromised at all. I am happy to know that I can do this with her again in the future since I am always on the go!” – Diane G.
Can couples therapy work online, too?
Yes! I counsel many couples online, and support them in growing the trust between them as they learn more about themselves.
Online couples counseling is also ideal for couples who are in different geographic locations. Maybe one partner travels a lot for work, or works in a different country. Meeting with a therapist online is a great workaround for situations like these.
Many couples prefer meeting online because online therapy sessions are easier to schedule for 2 people than office-based ones. Also, couples have privacy after their session and that allows them the safety of having difficult emotions without facing other people in the waiting room.
Online couples therapy works well if you both have a spirit of curiosity as to how you can personally grow and develop with a therapist online.
You have many choices in the online therapy world, which forces you to think deeply about what’s best for you. Ultimately, it is your desires and needs that will affect your choice.
If you think online therapy may be right for you, get in touch with me via my contact page.
“Using iPad on couch in coworking space / Mit iPad auf der Couch im Coworking Space” by Flickr user Marco Verch is licensed under CC BY 2.0.