Is online psychotherapy any good? I am getting asked this question a lot during lockdown. Today is Mental Health Awareness Day and a good time to try and answer it. Online sessions are usually on video (Skype, WhatsApp or FaceTime). 50 minutes talking in private to the therapist as if you are in the same room.
Does it work just as well? Many studies show that it does. What is more important for me is that usually clients are surprised that they can get a lot out of a video session when they first start. They report that eye contact works well, they feel listened to and note that we even manage long silences when they can think about what they want to say next. Encryption is good. So our work is confidential.
The idea is to feel that we are in each other’s ‘presence’. Modern technology allows this. We can do role plays on video. We can draw pictures and talk about graphic images, if the client likes to work visually. We can work with body language when the client describes how he or she is using their body to accentuate a point. Or to work out what they are feeling. Video sessions can be invaluable to a client who has mobility issues or problems with child care. Under lockdown online is the only way to get psychotherapy. Even once things ease up, this is a way to avoid travelling to sessions on public transport. Getting ready for a video session can be stress free, allowing the client to concentrate on what they really want to talk about. If you are thinking of getting some psychotherapy or counselling, I would encourage you to give online sessions a try.