Online vs Face-To-Face therapy
Which to Go For?
Advancements in the digital space have certainly introduced more choice to our lives. It has massively changed the way we consume information, products and services. One quick example close to our (Singaporean) hearts would be food: looking for ideas on what or where to eat by reading reviews, buying ingredients to at the shops and following a video clip at home to cook, or simply browsing online and having it delivered to our doorsteps.
Our environment determines the parameters in how we operate: now, most of us have to stay at home in our bid, as a community, to stop the spread of Covid19. The very nature of this sheltering in place could be affecting our mental health and we need to determine what would work best for us.
I will be using counselling and therapy interchangeably in this article because the modality and delivery are essentially the same.
Counselling/therapy is a service provided by a trained mental health professional that is focused on helping you find solutions to issues that trouble you. It could be addressing a crisis in your life or helping you find ways to manage the adversity. It could be an emotional journey to gain insight on patterns in your life that are perpetuating your problems and learning how to break them. It could be helping you see things in a different way and learn to approach your challenges differently. It could be helping you learn the way to building more meaningful social connections with people who matter to you so you can enjoy a better quality of life. Therapy revolves around conversations with a warm and trustworthy professional who is trained to facilitate the very dialogue that would help you.
So, the question here is whether you can have these useful and honest conversations online or in-person.
Counselling Face-to-Face is the conventional mode of meeting your helper in the physical space. You decide on a therapist you would like to meet, make an appointment and go to a consulting room to meet them. Now, most psychologists and counsellors are first trained using face-to-face sessions and there is plenty of research and guidelines available to inform practitioners on using the physical space.
Online Counselling is using virtual space to meet with your therapist. It is also known as telehealth (like how we refer to it at the Therapy Platform), or e-therapy. Online counselling can include video conferencing, phone counselling, text messaging, live chats, avatar therapy and this mode is continuing to grow. At The Therapy Platform, the current telehealth service is video conferencing.
Here is a table that compares seeking therapy online and face-to-face.
|Factors||Online Counselling||Face to Face Counselling|
|Rapport and the helping relationship|
Confidentiality and Security
Our environment determines the parameters in how we operate, but individuals have certain choices to shape what we eventually take action on.
Ultimately, choosing between online counselling or in-person sessions is a matter of preference and what works for you. Some individuals believe whole-heartedly that they can only be helped if they see a therapist in person. Some people switch to online therapy and never want to go back. The most important thing is: what do you want and what works best for you?
Gale-Bando, A. (2017). Telehealth v.s. in person therapy: which is better? Retrieved from: http://www.drbando.com/telehealth/
McDonald, R. T. (2020). Online Therapy: Processes, tasks, integration and energetic holding (3rd ed.). [ebook]. Retrieved from: https://www.aott.com.au/
Novotney, A. (2011). A new emphasis on telehealth: How can psychologists stay ahead of the curve – and keep patients safe. Retrieved from: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/06/telehealth
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I have the necessary academic qualifications and 9 years of experience helping people. To transit from face-to-face counselling to helping people through online therapy, I have also received training from the Australian Online Therapy Training, an internationally recognised course. I can help you with your worries and your struggles. I can help you on your journey to change your life and focus on the things that matter to you. I can help nudge you in the direction you want to go. Reach out to me and let’s work together, to help you!
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