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There are many different forms of therapies that offer support to work through mental health needs. Traditional therapy provides support through face-to-face or in-person interactions with a licensed therapist. With the advancements in technology and the looming danger of COVID a new form of therapy has formed in recent years, known as Virtual Therapy. This therapy, as the name suggests, is virtual in nature and takes place via the phone, an app or a video chat. It is also known as Online Therapy or Tele-therapy. Other mediums that come under the category of Virtual Therapy include texts, chat and emails.

Virtual Therapy is a type of tele-medicine. It can occur at any time through phone conversations and text messaging. And though there are some limitations, it is quickly becoming an important resource for a growing number of people. Research has suggested that Virtual Therapy is just as effective as traditional therapy but more convenient naturally. With the advent of COVID, Virtual Therapy has thrived. Therapists have taken to having sessions with their patients through virtual platforms, because not only has this kept people safe from a deadly virus, it has also helped them get through a difficult and traumatizing time in their lives.

How Traditional Therapy Differs from Virtual Therapy

Here’s how Virtual Therapy differentiates from Traditional (In-Person) Therapy:

Pros of In-Person Therapy Cons of In-Person Therapy
Having face-to-face sessions with a patient allows the therapist to read the non-verbal cues. These may be as minor as blinking or even shifting where you sit., but it allows the therapist to get a better understanding of your needs. Patients take time out of their usual schedule to visit their therapists. Sometimes appointments are made weeks in advance. Getting to and from therapy can be difficult for some people.
Some mental health conditions require direct, in-person support. Which may also include activities. Art, music and play therapy can provide effective support when used in person. The cost for in-person therapy is higher than that of virtual therapy.
Sessions with a Therapist take place in their office and can provide a space away from the patient’s everyday life. A location that feels neutral can increase a patient’s comfort level. Due to lack of availability or differing schedules, there might be a long waiting period.
Pros of Virtual Therapy Cons of Virtual Therapy
Despite the awareness and need of Therapy, some people still see it as a stigma. Virtual Therapy provides a patient with more privacy than an in-person therapy. They can choose to remain anonymous if they wish. Moreover, no one can see you going to a therapist’s office. Email communication and texts can limit the level of understanding between a patient and their therapist. Lack of body language and non-verbal cues can lead to limited understanding. Patients should not assume that a therapist is available 24/7 virtually, unless the Therapist has stated otherwise.
Virtual Therapy can also lower social anxieties. It provides easier access to patients who find it difficult commuting to in-person therapy sessions. Therapeutic support is provided quickly and efficiently through online services, with little to no hassle. Not all people have access to the internet or even a computer, while others may not have any cell service available in their area. It becomes difficult for regular sessions with the therapist.
Therapists who conduct virtual therapy sessions might offer cheaper monthly rates when booking more than one session. There are some mental health conditions that require in-person sessions. Therapists may find Virtual Therapy to be restrictive at times when it comes to the treatment of their patients.

Need for Virtual Therapy

Virtual Therapy is a platform that can be used by not just therapists but also psychiatrists and psychologists. Through a video or audio session they can get a basic overview before deeming it necessary for the patients to come in person for further testing.

In the last three years, Virtual Therapy has thrived. Because of COVID people have not had the chance to leave their homes, making it difficult for them to attend sessions with their therapists. But through Virtual Therapy, therapists have been able to keep up with the progress of their patients. Another benefit of tele-therapy is that it allows for continuity. If the patient can meet over video, there is a level of flexibility, which allows them to meet with their therapist more regularly.

People with physical disabilities are sometimes isolated, or they do not have time to drive to therapy. There is an option of a therapist going to their location, but some patients may live out-of-range. They can access treatment, virtually, anywhere and at their own convenience. For people suffering from social anxiety, having an online session with their therapist can make things easier for them. Attending sessions from the comfort of their homes gives them a window to relax and focus on their problems.

Therapists sometimes conduct group therapy, where a group of individuals with similar mental health issues come together to share their problems and try to help one another. Normally, when this is done in-person, the people remain anonymous and do not stay in touch once the session ends. However, through virtual group therapy, people can stay connected outside of their group meetings via instant messaging.

Key Takeaway

Therapists, both online and offline, have the same goal. To help people struggling with relationship issues, personal issues, family conflicts and any concern that disrupts their mental well being. A person can also get help for depression, anxiety, trauma and addiction, as well as learn how to manage stress. With how far technology has advanced, and how it has become integrated in our lives, people have started to prefer Virtual Therapy over Traditional Therapy. For some people speaking face to face with a therapist may not be easy. This is where virtual therapists come in. With each year passing by, therapists have begun to use at least one or two virtual platforms to conduct their sessions. Though some people may still prefer traditional therapy, there is no questioning the success of virtual therapy.