Pre-pandemic many people probably weren’t familiar with Zoom, however, fast forward two and a half years and you will struggle to find someone who hasn’t used Zoom or some other video conferencing technology. When lockdown swept the country, Zoom allowed friends and family to stay connected, it also enabled Psychologists to keep connected with their clients through online therapy. Many therapists who had never offered an online therapy service before found themselves discovering the benefits and pitfalls of virtual therapy.
Now we are all returning to a more familiar pre-pandemic life many Psychologists and clients have gone back to traditional face-to-face sessions and this makes sense to me-as human beings we are very relational and there is something very special about having the opportunity to sit in the same room with my clients. The therapy room can offer a safe space, away from work or home, where people can talk about their innermost world without fear of being interpreted or overheard. They can feel the presence of a compassionate human being and when we are with another person who is safe and grounded this can help our nervous systems start to feel safe. We can sit in silence, I can pass you a tissue and we can laugh together. All of these can bring about beautiful moments of healing in the therapy room.
So what about online therapy, is this a second-rate option that helped us get by in the pandemic but is now to be let go of as we all return to face-to-face sessions. I don’t think so…and here is why…
Whilst it remains true that online therapy is not for everyone, online therapy also has its own unique benefits. You can sit in the comfort of your own home without the stress of commuting to the clinic, online therapy can more easily fit around busy schedules, you don’t have to take breaks if working or travelling and you can even sit with your beloved pet which can help to make you feel more comfortable.
What therapies can you do online?
Almost all therapeutic approaches that I am aware of can be offered online and whilst certain techniques may need to be adapted there is still an enormous amount of creative work that can be done in the online space. We offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), CFT, ACT, Mindfulness-Based Therapy, Internal Family Systems and Schema Therapy online and there is evidence that outcomes are the same for in-person therapy and online therapy, except for Anorexia and Bulimia where in-person and often multi-disciplinary approaches are preferable.
Tips for finding a good online therapist
If you are interested in online therapy sessions, it is just as important to find a good online therapist as it is to find a good in-person therapist. One potential advantage of working online is you may have a greater choice of people to work with as you are not confined to finding a therapist who practices in the same vicinity as you and it is so important to find the right fit when deciding who to work with.
Looking for a person’s qualifications, asking about the length of their training and finding out who they are regulated with is a good place to start when seeking an online or in person therapist. For Psychologists you want to ensure they are registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC), for Schema Therapists you should look for certification with the International Society for Schema Therapy (ISST), for CBT look for certification with the British Association of Behaviour and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and for Psychotherapy looking for verification with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy.
Find out more
If you are looking for online therapy, please get in touch and we will discuss your personal needs and match you with one of our online therapists for a confidential consultation to discuss your needs in more detail.
Written by Dr. Olivia Thrift – registered Counselling Psychologist and founder of The Psychology Company