The popularity of telehealth services, including both physical and mental health services, has skyrocketed in recent years. A few years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated healthcare practitioners to find alternative ways to reach patients during quarantine. The technology to make telehealth possible, such as video calling and live chats with healthcare providers, already existed; we didn’t really adopt these methods regularly until after 2020. Now that online health services are more commonplace, it doesn’t look like these habits are going anywhere.
Despite the easing of quarantine restrictions, the demand for online therapy continues to rise, with a 124% increase in searches for “online counseling” since the COVID outbreak. It is now evident that online therapy is here to stay — and recent studies have shown that it is just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy sessions.
Research conducted at the University of Zurich found that approximately half of patients across various therapists who underwent in-person counseling were no longer diagnosed with depression, a result that was replicated for patients who received online counseling. Furthermore, 57% of patients who received online therapy demonstrated sustained recovery in a follow-up session, compared to just 42% of those who had face-to-face therapy. These findings suggest that online therapy could be more effective than traditional in-person therapy in certain cases.
Why is Online Therapy So Effective?
As a practice that we largely avoided for so long, it’s surprising to learn that online therapy is turning out to be just as effective as in-person sessions. Medical professionals suspect a couple of reasons why telehealth sessions are seeing such high success rates:
1. Online Counseling Leaves Records
Online counseling sessions that involve written communication between therapist and client offer patients the ability to revisit their discussions at a later time. This enables them to retain and refresh the advice and techniques received in therapy, which may have been forgotten after an in-person session.
2. It Eliminates Geographic Constraints
Virtual therapy enhances the accessibility of healthcare. It caters to individuals who are unable to travel to in-person therapy sessions, and it also makes the initial step of seeking therapy less daunting for those who are nervous or hesitant about seeking help. The comfort of one’s own home can alleviate some of the intimidating aspects of mental health treatment.
3. Added Flexibility and Comfort
Many individuals feel anxiety around attending in-person counseling, and being able to talk to a therapist from the comfort of their own home can help relieve this anxiety and help patients get more out of their sessions. Feeling clear-headed during a therapy session can make the conversation more impactful and help the patient connect with the therapist on a deeper level. It also gives patients with busy schedules greater flexibility to meet with their therapist, so they may be less likely to miss a meeting or may be able to have more sessions each week.
Telehealth services are revolutionizing the field of mental healthcare and breaking down obstacles for those seeking therapy. However, it is important to keep in mind that not everyone is suitable for online services, and it is crucial to determine the healthcare method that works best for you.
Many clinics like Bespoke Treatment are now offering a fully virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). This gives patients access to a customizable and inclusive treatment program that is 100% online. Bespoke Treatment’s virtual IOP provides a comprehensive approach to mental health, tailored to the individual with a personalized treatment plan, just like a traditional IOP.
The treatment plan can encompass a combination of therapies that best cater to your unique needs, rather than treating a diagnosis. Their program can also include alternative treatment options such as ketamine therapy that can be administered at home under virtual supervision of one of their trained medical professionals.
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