COMPARING THE DIFFERENT APPROACHES FOR ONLINE MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT

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We all are experiencing emotions, situations, and thoughts of imminent danger, anxiety and stress due to the constant changes and challenges of modern society. For example, one of the major concerns emerging from the different aspects of the recent pandemic is its impact on mental health. 

In light of this, it has become all the more vital to ensure the continuation of care service for those patients with neurological, psychiatric, and neurosurgical issues by transitioning therapy services online. This will enable patients to receive immediate, effective teleconsultation and assistance at the click of a mouse.

Why choose online therapy?

As technology evolves to accommodate the new normal, so does telehealth. Online therapy, also referred to as e-therapy or cyber counseling can be detrimental in providing mental health services through email, online chat, text messaging, video conferencing or over the phone.

Online therapy may appeal to persons who may not wish to meet physically in an office. This form of treatment is also a good choice for people who stay far from mental health facilities or have difficulty in leaving home due to busy schedules for this form of mental health care.

Unlike traditional therapy, online treatment enables any individual to connect with their counselor from anywhere in the world, providing they have a reliable and stable phone or internet connection. This treatment can take place real-time or through email messages in a time delay format.

The current communication technologies are so developed that they can easily help therapists guide their patients through any challenges they may face while sitting at home. This will also help in reducing the stigma and embarrassment people may feel associated with receiving mental health services – since some online therapy sites (such as Betterhelp for example) allow you to remain 100% anonymous.

Online mental health service providers are therapists just like real-world counselors or psychologists. They go through the same procedures of training and courses as demanded by the governing authorities. The main difference is that while the former provides therapy online, the latter is a regular session where you are in the same room as the psychologist.

Other benefits of online therapy

Apart from utilizing a specialized platform to connect with the patient in a secure and safe environment, there are hosts of other reasons to opt for online mental health therapy. Unfortunately, the current mandate for social distancing makes it difficult to seek individual appointments with a therapist, while some may be reluctant to visit one even though restrictions are lifted.

Intimacy:  Surprisingly, despite the absence of the usual face-to-face interaction, online therapy can be quite intimate. This is due to the fact that your therapist can get a better real-time glimpse of your life in a manner that may not be possible in a real-life setting. Some people also feel more at ease being at home, and it helps them open up better.

Accessibility: Online treatment is the best solution for people with limited mobility or those who do not have transportation. It also saves considerable time as patients need not travel great distances every time a session is scheduled and perhaps save a full day. Moreover, there is no cost involved when “traveling” for an online session.

Consistent treatment: Patients are bound to miss appointments with their therapists due to illness, bad weather, or other last-minute hiccups. Online therapy overcomes these hurdles by providing continuous treatment to increase chances of improvement. Should the need arise, frequent sessions can be scheduled at ease as well.

Safety: Since the Covid-19 crisis, fear of having to visit public places has caused millions of people to avoid in-person care. Through online therapy one can practice social distancing without having to compromise on or sacrificing your mental health treatment.

Different paths to improve mental health

If you are curious about online therapy, you will be surprised to notice the number of different types available. While some approaches may work best for a specific condition, others can also lend a helping hand with the range of other issues.

  • Support groups: Support groups can greatly assist in getting an insight into your condition. They can provide resources and tips on how to live with your condition and also help address the feeling of isolation which is normally associated with such conditions. The great thing about this option is that most support groups are free of charge.
  • Other therapy sites: This is the most common treatment for mental disorders and involves discussing your problems with a mental help professional. If you are facing challenges in life like divorce, grief or trauma, you can certainly benefit from this type of therapy. Since there are so many sites to choose from, and not all are to be trusted, it’s highly recommended to read some professional online therapy reviews first.
  • Community counseling: Carefully selected and trained volunteers have been noticed to act as efficiently as professional staff in providing emergency telephone help for distressed callers. It has been noticed that the act of volunteering not only benefits people with severe mental illness but also the volunteers themselves.
  • Online apps: In a technology-driven environment, selecting the right mental health service can be quite intimidating. Luckily, there are a number of intuitive apps accessible today that can bring peace of mind from your tablet or smartphone. While these apps can by no means replace a licensed therapist, they are wonderful tools to help manage your health concerns to an extent. Similarly to therapy sites, it’s advisable to first read reviews of the best mental apps before you commit to one.

Final thoughts

Studies have shown that while online therapy is fast becoming a popular option with many, it does not necessarily mean it is suitable for everyone. This is because there are some serious forms of mental ailments such as severe depression or schizophrenia that online therapy cannot treat effectively.

That said, despite large expenditures, face-to-face mental health services are not able to support the large number of younger people facing issues related to mental health. This is largely because of the high cost, reluctance, access and availability of professional help.

Research shows that online therapy can be just as effective as physical therapy. One can choose from a network of licensed therapists for your prescribed psychiatric treatment and prescription management needs. 

It is also perfectly normal to try one therapist, find that it doesn’t work for your benefit, and try a different type. Even when you know your mental well-being is strong, online therapy can help you in becoming physically stronger and cope with strategies that will ultimately lead to better health.