How to get rid of prejudices towards online therapy
Let's see the main prejudices about online therapy and the reasons why they are false
Luckily, going to therapy is becoming something as daily as going to the physiotherapist or private classes, it is becoming more self-care. There is more awareness of mental health, and psychological suffering is being hopelessly outlived. But what about online therapy?
Despite the fact that, in the wake of the 2020 pandemic, online will become popular in many areas of life, having an online session with a psychologist still has to break down some barriers. Issues such as human presence and closeness, the price or the safety of their space are a cause for concern, a concern that ends up turning into prejudices that make it difficult to decide to take the step and start treatment
If you think you should ask for professional help, you may consider whether to do it in person or online and the latter may cause you some rejection. Well, you should know something: the first step to get rid of fears is to know them thoroughly and, precisely, that is what you are going to be able to do in these lines. Let's go with it.
Prejudices surrounding online therapy
It is true that, despite the immense digitization of our era, standing in front of a face on the screen and telling it that we are suffering is still something that seems artificial . However, time and money are scarce and doing it from home seems comfortable. What prevents you, then, from launching yourself? Let's see some of the prejudices that surround this type of therapy.
1. Anyone can take a webcam and call themselves a psychologist
It is true that scammers exist and that they pop up like mushrooms in times of need. However, a psychology professional who works online will always be able to provide their degree , their collegiate number and their experience.
2. Online therapy is not a safe environment
Undressing the mind and getting in touch with unpleasant emotions in front of a monitor is something that many people resist, and it makes sense. A priori, it is impersonal, since the information is bounded by the limits and quality of the camera. What prevents someone off angle from listening or being recorded without consent? These fears are normal and understandable.
But a good professional who works online is subject to the same ethical codes as those who practice face-to-face. To respect the confidentiality of the patient, secure platforms are used, which encrypt the data and allow the content of the sessions not to be revealed to third parties under any circumstances.
3. The relationship with the psychologist is not as close
The therapeutic alliance is built through trust and connection through dialogue. A good professional should be able to connect with what you feel and guide you properly and safely on your path to recovery and personal growth. This ability is real both online and in person, as it depends on the skills of the psychologist and the disposition of the patient.
Just as a long-distance friendship can be real, the connection between patient and therapist is capable of yielding the same good results as face-to-face sessions . It's just a matter of becoming aware of the environment in which you work and taking advantage of all the tools offered by the digital path.
4. The online psychologist can advise you, but not give a complete therapy
The person who attends you online has the same training as any psychologist who performs face-to-face therapy. It is true that the tools used may vary, that the duration of the treatment could change, etc.; that is to say, that it operates in another way, but the effectiveness is the same. Think, for example, of a phobia of cockroaches. To gradually expose yourself to that fear, a first step might be to watch them on a screen or through virtual reality.
Also, what you get in a therapy is not advice, but guidelines to walk the road to your recovery. These are studied steps, based on research and experience , that guide you to where you want to go so that you are able to walk the path.
5. Online therapy is not valid for couples or families
This is another of the prejudices that surround online therapy. However, tailoring a session for multiple people isn't difficult , it's just a matter of using the right tools and platforms. Session time may also need to be adjusted as the number of participants is larger.
On the side of confidentiality, family and couple adjustments are the same as in face-to-face therapy. Remember that a psychologist is obliged to keep the secrets of his patient, whether in a group or individually.
6. Going to the psychologist is useless
Online therapy carries the same stigmas as face-to-face therapy, with the addition that, being through a screen, it is accused of being the same as an online seminar or even a blog article. However, nothing further: a blog entry, an explanatory video or any informative content will never delve into the patient's personal problem .
Online treatments are specific to each person and their emotions and problems are deepened to levels impossible to capture in informative content. The effectiveness of the treatment will depend on the quality of the therapist-patient alliance, the skill of the psychologist and the disposition of the individual, as well as the difficulty of the case. But no matter how good the psychologist is, if the patient does not want to or does not do what he has to do, he will not advance. That is when the psychologist is blamed, deciding that it is useless.
Advantages of going to online therapy
Now that you know what prejudices fall on this type of therapy, you may be wondering: if it can be as good as an on-site treatment, what is the difference between going to one or the other? The truth is that some people could benefit more from the remote modality than others. It may be your case, so pay attention to the following sections.
1. Saving time and money
As time progresses, the phrase "time is money" is gaining more and more meaning. Jobs with hours that are impossible to reconcile, domestic tasks, travel times in large cities that do not fall below 45 minutes... In the end, the search for time has become as important as monetary income .
That is why online therapy is an advantage in both cases. You save time, since you only need to connect to your device instead of moving, with the monetary savings that this entails. In addition, many professionals offer more affordable prices, since they do not have to cover expenses such as renting a physical space.
2. It has no geographical or time limits
Combining the face-to-face modality with the online one is a considerable advantage in times where schedules are changing , pandemics have become palpable and people want to commit to their treatment. For example, if you need to do a follow-up session but have to travel for work, you won't have to cancel it if you can do it online.
3. It is an advantage for people who want to avoid direct contact with others
For some people, sitting in front of someone who has to weigh the information they are told, in someone else's office and after having passed through a waiting room, is too stressful. Many potential patients are reluctant to seek professional help for this reason.
However (and especially in the first sessions), making contact in a familiar environment and according to the emotional needs of the patient , such as their own home, is more comfortable. Online therapy is becoming a preferred option for these profiles. Trust and security are two keywords to describe online therapy.
4. Online therapy benefits from many digital resources
Properly chosen and used, tools such as recordings, presentations, digital agendas or monitoring applications can become a perfect complement to therapy. It's just a matter of adapting to them .
5. It is as safe and effective as traditional therapy
Although it was already explained above, it is necessary to insist: online therapy is effective and does not pose any risk to the safety of the patient, nor to their data. When looking for an online psychologist, it requires the same thing that you would ask for its face-to-face equivalent , that is:
- Your membership number.
- A secure platform that encrypts the data and has tools to prevent the content of the session from reaching third parties.
- A psychologist capable of creating a climate of trust with you.
- Have specialized training in the problem you want to treat.
- That a document of compliance with the Data Protection law be signed.