Tele-Therapy – The New Way to be Shrinked
Along with the large number of changes to our daily functioning and the manners in which we complete our usual tasks, the field of therapy has also changed drastically in the past year. The conundrum that occurred in the field of mental health was that a larger number of people were now experiencing mental health symptoms while being told to avoid contact- enter teletherapy.
Prior to 2020, the concept of teletherapy was relevant, but often rejected or unutilized by many clinicians. The argument was made that it lacked the effectiveness and connection that good ole’ fashioned therapy thrives on.
I was one of the clinicians that was not a believer in teletherapy, and I will say that I have been converted and humbled over the past year. I have experienced the role of both the clinician and the client using teletherapy, and it has been a lifeline for me.
With that, there are the top 5 benefits of teletherapy in my opinion.
First and foremost, teletherapy takes away the possibility of excuses. You can attend your sessions while in your office, in your bed, on vacation, in your car, wherever you are alone and have internet access! This feature has opened the doors for people whose schedules and transportation situations have previously halted their ability to heal and participate. Add the fact that doing teletherapy also provides a safe environment lacking in potential exposure to all illnesses, if you’re making excuses then you’re reaching.
Intimacy through teletherapy may not be the same, but it is very intimate. Essentially, you are giving your therapist the permission to see into your life, not just describe it. If your dog is a major support for you when you’re down, you are able to bring that dog into your session and showcase your coping abilities.
How many times have you attended one therapy session then never gone back? The initial session can be full of uncertainty. Teletherapy takes away that uncertainty- all the parts of the healthcare world that you don’t love aren’t there. You don’t have a waiting room experience, there’s no parking anxiety, or anything that potentially sparks the “oh no” butterflies. You can set up with your cozy blanket and a cup of tea in your pajamas and still receive the service you need!
From the time I wake up until I go to bed at night, I am super intentional about how I spend my time. Whenever I decide to commit to an activity or a project, I always weigh out: How much time will this take? Is that amount of time worth me giving up something else in my day? If there is a way to cut out driving time, waiting room time, and leaving work early time, while still being able to participate in an effective model of therapy- I’m here for it. I’m a busy woman and having the 20 minutes that I’d spend in the car driving to read or finish up a project makes a world of difference to me. There is also more room for flexibility with sessions- what I mean by this is that it is easier to alter or reschedule a session virtually than it is in person. This added flexibility has been such a blessing this past year when the unexpected always seemed to come up.
Location, location, location- teletherapy has opened the doors to pretty much any therapist you can think of. Rather than being limited to local clinicians, teletherapy opens the doors to being able to see someone hours away without the added hassle of travel. Teletherapy has opened the door to so many choices and opportunities for people to get the help they need by reducing these barriers to treatment. For those who live in rural areas, having the ability to seek counseling outside of your area is indispensable.
Telehealth is here to stay, and it truly has benefited the healthcare world more than any of us were anticipating. While trying something new can be scary or challenging, opening your mind to the possibility of receiving help through teletherapy may be the missing piece to your puzzle. (by Christian Brown)