The benefits of online therapy during a pandemic
There is no doubt that we are living in unprecedented times due to COVID-19. Aside from fears for your health, you may also be dealing with feelings of isolation, stress, anxiety, and depression.
You are not alone.
Unfortunately, millions of Americans face budgetary, time, and logistical barriers that impede their ability to access quality mental health care. Since the pandemic started in March, the acceptance of online therapy as a viable care option has grown exponentially. In many cases, it can be just as effective as a physical visit in an office setting.
Let’s discuss how online therapy works and some of the benefits you may not have considered.
COVID-19 and the mental health crisis
Much of the attention surrounding COVID-19 has focused on the physical threat posed by the virus. It is certainly an issue for those at higher risk, including the elderly and anyone with underlying health conditions.
However, we cannot ignore the rise in mental health problems that many have experienced during lockdown. Social isolation, the loss of a job or reduced income, a constant flow of negative news, the loss of loved ones, and the current social unrest have led to increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression for many. They have also led to a rise in alcohol and substance abuse as a way to escape.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse. As of late June: 31% reported increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, 13% started or increased substance use, and 11% considered suicide, which is an alarming statistic.
Mental health is a serious crisis that we cannot ignore. Unfortunately, the current social distancing mandates often make it difficult to seek individual or group therapy. You may be afraid to visit a therapist’s office even if restrictions have lifted.
Fortunately, we now have the technology and experience to offer safe and effective online therapy solutions.
Online therapy solutions and benefits
At Georgetown Psychology, online therapy works very much like a regular session, except you are not in the same room as the psychologist. We use the latest technology and specialized platforms to connect with patients in a safe and secure environment. All HIPAA privacy rules are strictly enforced.
Online therapy can also be surprisingly intimate, even without the usual “face-to-face” interaction. In fact, it may be even more intimate since your therapist is afforded a real-time glimpse into your life in a way that could never be fully revealed in an office setting.
Studies cited by the Telemental Health Institute indicate “that telemental health is equivalent to face-to-face care in various settings and an acceptable alternative.”
Other benefits of online counseling
- Increased access
Online therapy can be a solution for patients who live in remote areas. They do not have to travel great distances (or lose a whole day) every time they have a session. It is also ideal for those with a physical condition that limits mobility or who do not have adequate transportation.
- Reduced travel costs
If your therapist is not nearby, you could spend a lot of time in the car traveling to and from sessions. That adds up to miles on your vehicle and more stops for gas. There is no cost when “traveling” to an online session.
- More consistent therapy
Traffic, bad weather, and illness are just a few reasons why patients miss therapy sessions. Online therapy presents a solution to these hurdles, allowing patients to continue care on a more consistent basis and increasing their chances of improvement.
- More frequent sessions
Because there are fewer issues with travel, taking time off work, and juggling schedules, patients can schedule more frequent sessions if the need arises. This is extremely valuable for patients with acute issues or those that have a sudden need to speak to a psychologist.
- Increased progress
Due to the ability to schedule more sessions, you may start to feel better faster. You do not have to wait a week or two between appointments.
- Better access to specialists
Online therapy provides access to anyone in almost any part of the country. You can connect with specialists who may be in another office or even another part of the state.
- More comfortable for patients
Some patients like that they can experience a session in the comfort of the environment of their choosing, whether it’s the living room couch or the nearby park bench. Many feel more at ease than they would in a clinical setting. It is also possible to eliminate some of the social stigma that still surrounds mental health counseling.
- Safety without sacrificing care
The COVID pandemic and fear of being in public settings has caused millions of Americans to avoid in-person care. Online therapy lets you practice social distancing – protecting your physical health without sacrificing or limiting your mental health care.
- Flexibility with scheduling
Since everything is done online, you can schedule sessions that fit your life. You can schedule therapy around your work schedule, family obligations, or caring for a loved one. The convenience and flexibility are ideal for making therapy a comfortable part of your routine.
Let us help you feel better
You should never ignore mental health issues. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, it is okay to seek help. Ignoring the problem – or thinking it will go away on its own – can make your situation worse.
Georgetown Psychology offers an integrated approach to therapy with comprehensive evaluations, personalized treatment, and continuity of care. Our team has more than 20 years of experience and includes a range of specialties. We provide therapy for everyone, including children, teens, and adults of all ages. Our goal is to help you tackle challenges in a healthy way so you can enjoy your life.
If you need help, contact us today to schedule an online therapy appointment. We offer individual and online group therapy sessions where you can connect with people who understand everything you are going through.