You may have seen on DrVirginiaNoy.com that I am now offering clients the choice of in-person therapy sessions as well as sessions conducted over safe, secure, and HIPPA-approved online technologies. These sessions are done via video and are commonly referred to as teletherapy or virtual therapy.
And while many health care providers in different branches of medicine are now embracing technology as a new tool with which to better help their patients, I find it interesting that there are still several myths and misconceptions of online therapy that can put people off to trying it.
Let me address some of those concerns and perhaps put your mind at ease.
Myth 1 – Online therapy is not as effective as face-to-face sessions
In truth, you only get out of therapy or coaching what you are prepared to put in along with your therapist. Online sessions can actually be more effective, convenient, stress-free and economical since you don’t have to travel to the therapy session or spend time stuck in traffic. Sessions can also be arranged at a time to suit your schedule in the comfort of your own home or chosen surroundings.
Myth 2 – You cannot build a relationship with a therapist online
Building a healthy relationship or rapport with your therapist is key for any therapeutic relationship, whether it is one of coaching, psychotherapy, or counseling. Like with in-person sessions, once I ascertain that virtual therapy is appropriate for your needs, we can begin meeting, though I will continually assess the effectiveness of the sessions, whether in person or online, and we will also assess our progress together at regular intervals.
In some ways, it is easier to build a relationship with your therapist online, since a spur-of-the-moment trip out of town or even moving to another country does not necessarily have to impact your sessions together. I personally have quite a few patients who began sessions with in-person years ago and remain active patients, despite moving across the state or country.
Myth 3 – It’s harder to work in depth in online sessions
I have been conducting sessions online for years and have found that this is just not the case. Distance therapy may require slightly different skills, focus and approaches to normal room-based training for therapists, but these strategies can make online and phone sessions as effective as in-person counseling. Feedback from many of my clients has shown that it can feel often safer to be more open and honest in online/phone sessions since they are conducted from a place of safety to them. Whether you log in from home or at work, if you are comfortable in your surroundings you are more likely to open up.
As long as we can see you visually and read your body language and expressions, or just listen to your voice and intonation, a skilled therapist or coach will still be able to pick up on things that require further attention. Similar to room-based work, we will work with you to get the most out of the sessions to meet your needs.
Myth 4 – It is easier to be distracted during online sessions
Although I do agree that you may get distracted if you are not 100% committed, any therapy or coaching session requires the dedication and motivation to change. It is important that you are in a private space. If other people live in your home, it may be important to communicate with them on how they can best support you with the space and time you need for therapy, or you can find alternate solutions. I also ask that other devices, emails, and notifications be switched off during our sessions together to limit any additional distractions and help you keep the sessions on track.
Myth 5 – Online therapy is not secure
I have chosen and prepared an online platform that is secure, HIPPA-compliant, and any information exchanged is protected by end-to-end encryption. This is something that can not be offered through applications such as Skype or WhatsApp.
Myth 6 – Internet connection issues are disruptive to the process
It is true that a reliable and fast Wi-Fi connection is helpful and in some cases required to ensure the sessions are successful but we can work with you on this. There may be ways to improve your existing connection without installing higher bandwidth rates, so please reach out to us in case you have any questions about this.
I imagine there are a number of other questions you may have regarding online therapy, counseling or coaching sessions – I would be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comments down below or in private at firstname.lastname@example.org and help you figure out whether online therapy might work for you.
Helping you help yourself,
Dr. Virginia Noy