Online counseling may provide additional insight into future therapeutic procedures in various aspects. “In some respects, it provides more data on effectiveness, so we can better demonstrate what works and what doesn’t,” he adds.
The disadvantages of online counseling
Although it is obvious that online therapy can be helpful, it is not without drawbacks. Hafeez is concerned about a therapist’s capacity to correctly evaluate a patient when the therapist cannot see their body language or grooming habits, which can be difficult to detect even on a video conference.
Then there are the flaws that come with technology, no matter how modern it is. For example, your cell phone may lose connection or its battery may fail. “Technical failures are not a nice thing in the midst of a patient’s great epiphany,” she explains.
Typing has limitations as well, such as being slower than speaking and people saying less via text than they would in person, giving the therapist less to work with, as Hafeez adds.
That was ultimately my experience with online therapy. It was difficult to send a revealing message and then wait 24 hours for a response that was frequently full of questions that felt difficult to answer in text—even, or maybe especially, as a writer. Video sessions weren’t as common back then, and I didn’t have a private space to respond to one anyhow. Instead, I sought assistance elsewhere and discovered that I craved the in-person contact that comes with face-to-face therapy.
2. Is the therapist licensed, and is he or she licensed in the state where you live?
Many persons claim to be therapists or counselors but lack the necessary training or certification. Do your research and establish that a therapist is licensed in your state before working with them. BetterHelp claims to verify to ensure that its therapists are licensed, but you may also contact your therapist for their licensing information or look it up on the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards’ website.
3. How safe is the app or website?
The APA recommends that you confirm that the app or website you’re using conforms with HIPAA laws and that it confirms both your identity and the identity of your therapist.
4. What are the expenses?
Check ahead of time to see how much, if any, of your online therapy fees will be covered by your insurance and what kind of payment structure the app or website employs. Traditional treatment, for example, is often billed “per session”—you are charged each time you visit your therapist. Apps and websites frequently charge each week in exchange for “unlimited” access to a therapist. However, if you do not use the service on a regular basis, you may end up spending more money than you meant.
Finally, internet treatment appears to be a useful tool for many people, and patients can determine whether it is the best option for them.