The COVID 19 pandemic has caused immense disruptions in our lives, causing many people to need extra support, but also changing the ways in which we can access support. In-person therapy sessions are less available, and even where they are offered, many people are no longer comfortable taking the additional exposure required to access in-person service. Fortunately, many therapists are offering therapy services via online video sessions. But can therapy or counselling sessions online through an online video platform be helpful? Do they really work?
Online therapy sessions have been found to be just as effective as in-person sessions. But what’s it like to talk to a computer screen instead of a live person? Some people are worried that it will feel impersonal, that they won’t connect with the therapist. In fact, research shows that the therapeutic alliance (the relationship between the therapist and the client) is generally rated as just as strong with video sessions as in-person sessions. The few studies that found a lower rating for online sessions only found this difference with the therapist rating…the clients did not rate the alliance lower for online sessions than for in-person sessions. This makes sense to me as therapists are especially concerned with creating a welcoming environment and might be cautious in implementing technology thinking that the connection with clients might not be as strong. But clients, who just want to feel heard and respected, are reporting that this happens just as well via online video as it does with in-person sessions. The important part is finding a therapist that you connect with, that you believe listens to you and works with you to support you. The method of service delivery is not important, so long as the therapist is using a secure platform to deliver the online sessions.
This is reassuring news for the many people struggling right now with the challenges of COVID 19, as well as usual life challenges. At a time when folks need support more than ever, there are still options to get it. Online therapy sessions are an effective means of getting support for anxiety, depression, and general life stress. If you’re having relationship difficulties, online marriage counselling or relationship therapy is an option. East Toronto Therapy offers online therapy sessions to individuals and couples.