While telehealth services, those that are provided via phone, text, or online, have been around before the Pandemic, they definitely exploded in popularity during that time. Telehealth can be an extremely interesting and helpful way to provide limited mental health support at a relatively inexpensive price. But how does it compare to in-person therapy? Is it a replacement, a supplement, or is this a more complicated question?
Read on to find out more on the telehealth vs in person therapy discussion!
Benefits of In-Person Therapy
There are many benefits to the more traditional in-person therapy. One is that it allows for a more complete connection between therapist and patient. There is nonverbal communication that can happen in person that can be difficult to recreate over technology.
Some people feel more comfortable talking about personal matters in person than they do online or on the phone. This in-person back and forth helps create trust and makes it easier to focus, as well as easier for the therapist to read non-verbal signals to be able to see how a line of questioning is working, or not.
In-person therapy can also help to create a more structured environment for some people who may need that, making it easier to focus on the internal work at hand.
Finally, for those dependent on insurance coverage, often only in-person therapy is covered, making it the only viable option when money is very tight.
Disadvantages of In-Person Therapy
While in-person therapy is great, like all things it’s not perfect. One big disadvantage is that it can be more expensive than telehealth services. Therapy is a specialized treatment and can be very expensive, prohibitively so for those with low incomes.
In-person therapy can also be difficult to access for people who live in rural areas or who have transportation issues. If you’re struggling with severe depression a 40-minute drive to talk about it simply isn’t going to happen.
You may also find the only viable option is someone who doesn’t specialize in areas that are important to your treatment, or you might just not jive with the therapist even if there is nothing wrong with the job they’re doing. It happens, and if there aren’t other options, that can be a problem.
Benefits of Telehealth (Online) Therapy
There are also many benefits to telehealth therapy. One is that it can be extremely convenient- you can have sessions from anywhere and don’t have to worry about travel time or child care. It can also be less expensive than in-person therapy, since there is no need to pay for office space or any other overhead costs.
Additionally, some people feel more comfortable talking about personal matters online or on the phone than they do in person, which can make telehealth a great option for them.
Disadvantages of Online Therapy
However, there are also some disadvantages to telehealth therapy. One is that it can be more difficult to establish a rapport with your therapist since you’re not meeting in person.
This can make it more difficult to build trust and feel comfortable sharing personal information. Additionally, there is also the potential for technical difficulties. A bad Internet connection, software issues, or power outage can stop everything cold and that’s just incredibly frustrating.
So, which is better- telehealth or in-person therapy? The answer may depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a more convenient, less expensive option, telehealth may be a great choice for you.
However, if you feel more comfortable talking to someone in person or you need more structure in your sessions, in-person therapy may be a better option. Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a therapist that you trust and feel comfortable with, regardless of whether you’re meeting in person or online.
Telehealth Vs In Person Therapy: The Final Verdict
Both provide important services. In-person therapy wins with the ability to build a long-term relationship of trust that is crucial for digging out deep seeded problems, and can allow a much deeper treatment and rebuilding of personal issues.
Telehealth is fantastic for a bit of “pick me ups,” reminders that can help with fighting anxiety or depression throughout the day, and simply fighting the feeling that no one is there. Sometimes a lot of little bouts of support can do wonders for the big picture.
There is a strong place for both of them in a therapy plan.