Online therapy has been growing in popularity throughout the years. But since the pandemic, much in-person therapy has also transitioned to online. This post will discuss whether online therapy is effective for treating trauma, various pros and cons of it, and whether it might be something that can benefit you.
Taking care of our mental health is essential for our well-being and quality of life. When you’ve experienced trauma, especially in your childhood, it’s best to deal with it appropriately and heal. And it’s something that can be hard to do on your own. That’s where therapy comes in.
A professional can help you process your experiences, learn healthy coping skills, and develop the proper tools to begin healing.
When we hear the word “therapy”, we tend to picture a therapist and client having a session in a physical environment. If it’s anything like the movies, we picture the therapist in an armchair with a clipboard, nodding as the client sits or lays on the couch, recounting traumatic events from their past.
However, with the advancing technology and changing times, online therapy is a popular alternative option to traditional talk therapy. So while it isn’t exactly a client and therapist in a room with an armchair and couch, it is still therapy and it is just as effective.
Online Therapy Works Just Like Traditional Therapy
Online therapy refers to therapy or counseling services done over the internet or virtually. Depending on the service, it allows you to connect with a mental health professional through video, audio, texting, instant messaging, or email.
Studies show that online therapy has become a viable alternative to in-person therapy.
Therapists who practice online have to adhere to the same requirements as any other therapist in a traditional setting. They require the same education, licensing, and certification to become certified online therapists.
Various research found that online CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) appears to be just as effective as in-person therapy in treating moderate depression, panic disorder, social anxiety, and general anxiety. And adapting CBT to an online format has been shown to be as effective as in-person CBT in treating trauma.
The Pros of Online Therapy for Trauma
Online therapy can be a suitable and perhaps even better alternative to in-person therapy for a variety of reasons.
More Convenient & Accessible
Some problems with in-person therapy sessions are needing to devote time and money to commute to and from the office. So one of the biggest pros of online therapy is that it can basically happen anytime from anywhere with almost anyone.
Scheduling tends to be more flexible. And rescheduling usually isn’t as troublesome. This makes it less likely for clients to cancel last minute or not show up at a session. This also makes it a better alternative for people with busy schedules.
Online therapy is also ideal for people who might have physical limitations or disabilities that might make traveling to and from a therapy session difficult, inconvenient, or expensive. People struggling with social or agoraphobia may benefit more from it as well.
More Choices & Flexibility
Related to accessibility, one of the problems of face-to-face therapy is that the choices of therapists and services are limited to your area. And if you live somewhere pretty remote, that makes it even more difficult to find a suitable therapist.
With online therapy, you can connect to almost any therapist or service you’d like as long as your state or jurisdiction allows it. You also have better flexibility and more options of switching therapists if you’re not satisfied with who you’re matched with.
Online therapy gives you more choices in terms of which company or therapist you can go with and when, where, and how you can attend your sessions.
The costs of online therapy depend on the plan and services you choose and how the sessions are carried out.
But if paying out-of-pocket, online therapy is typically more affordable than in-person therapy. That’s because therapists save money on commute and space for their sessions.
Going to a therapist’s office, clinic, or hospital can feel intimidating and humiliating. There’s also the possibility of running into someone you know.
Although the world has gotten a bit better in terms of being accepting of different mental illnesses, the stigma still exists. Many people in need of therapy or other types of mental health services might avoid therapy to avoid the stigma.
Online therapy is a great option if you’re worried about being seen or feel embarrassed to be going to an in-person therapy session.
Some people may find online therapy more comforting and approachable than in-person therapy. Being able to be in a comfortable and familiar setting such as their own home might make them feel better and perhaps, safer, about attending therapy.
Thus, they may find it easier to be open and honest with their experiences. Which then makes it easier for their therapist to assess their situation and provide treatment.
For instance, if you have trouble talking directly to someone – either face-to-face or over the phone – texting, instant messaging, or even emailing may be a viable option. Texting and messaging also allows you to have time to compose your thoughts.
More Connection Between Client and Therapist
While a lack of connection between client and therapist is a common concern, being better able to establish connection and intimacy is also possible with online therapy. It depends on the person involved.
As mentioned in the previous point, online therapy can be more approachable or comfortable. And when a client and even therapist is comfortable in their own environment, they are able to relax and be more open in general.
One online therapist talks about her perspective and how many of her clients actually found online therapy to be more satisfying than in-person therapy.
The Cons of Online Therapy for Trauma
Online therapy has its many pros, but there are also cons just like with traditional therapy.
Not Recommended for More Severe or Complex Conditions
Online therapy is as effective and beneficial as in-person therapy for most mild to moderate conditions. So if you mostly want to learn how to deal with your trauma and begin healing, online therapy, specifically online CBT, can be just as effective.
However, it might not be good enough for conditions like suicidal intent, psychosis, or certain personality disorders.
For more severe, intense, or complex conditions, professionals recommend in-person treatments or interventions. However, online therapy can occur alongside in-person care the client may also be receiving.
Online therapists can also refer their clients to the necessary in-person treatments or institutions. In the end, it’s better for someone to seek some type of therapy than no therapy at all.
Lack of Response During Crises
Related to the previous point, another drawback of online therapy is how difficult it can be for online therapists to intervene or help in the event of a crisis. That’s why it’s not typically recommended for more severe, intense, or complex conditions where crises may be more common.
Additionally, the therapist may not be in the right jurisdiction to be able to physically do anything to help.
Body Language May Be Difficult to Read
One of the biggest drawbacks of online therapy is the difficulty for therapists to observe a client’s body language and other non-verbal signs.
A person’s tone of voice, eye contact, mannerisms, and demeanor helps a therapist’s evaluation, assessment, and diagnosis. They also provide insight into how the person may be feeling or thinking.
However, these are mostly issues regarding texting and messaging. Video or audio chat maintains some of these non-verbal cues. If this is something the client or therapist worries about, face-to-face video chat or at least over-the-phone therapy sessions are an option.
Accessing a Private/Safe Space May Be Difficult
In-person therapy is often able to provide the client and therapist with a private and safe space.
While online therapy platforms have to remain confidential and abide by HIPAA laws, it is still up to the client to find a space to attend their sessions in. And the space they have available may not always be ideal.
For instance, if you live with your abusive parent, conducting a therapy session at home might be unsafe. And if you go elsewhere, you may run into other issues like having someone overhear your conversation. In cases like that, it may be preferable to go with messaging, texting, or emailing for therapy sessions.
Distractions and Technical Issues May Be Disruptive
The client’s or even the therapist’s environment where they’re conducting the session may have various disruptions that can make concentrating or communicating difficult throughout the session.
Construction noises, dogs barking, children screaming, or the sounds of traffic in the background can be distracting. Thus, it can affect how effective the session can be.
Technical issues can also be disruptive. Things like glitches in the platform where the session is being conducted, lost connections, dropped calls, low-resolution videos, lags, echoing, freezing, and slow connections can disrupt therapy.
These various disruptions can be frustrating, especially if you’re discussing something sensitive with your therapist. So it’s best for you and your therapist to have a plan on what to do when technical issues arise.
Insurance Coverage May Be Limited
Prior to COVID-19, most online therapies aren’t typically covered or reimbursable by most insurance providers. And that may still be an issue with certain online services.
However, now that telehealth is a new normal, most insurance companies recognizes online therapy as an equivalent to in-person therapy. But it’s still best to check before attending.
And even if an online therapy service you’re interested in doesn’t accept health insurance, you may be able to receive out-of-network coverage depending on your plan.
Check Out Online-Therapy.com
Online-Therapy.com offers online cognitive behavioral therapy covering a variety of issues, including trauma and abuse, for both individuals and couples. Other conditions they cover include anxiety, depression, BPD, PTSD, OCD, social anxiety, and weight problems.
Studies have shown that CBT therapy online is just as effective as in-person therapy while being more cost-effective.
According to a survey by VeryWellMind, 90% of users reported being very satisfied or satisfied with the therapist options they’re given. 74% considered Online-Therapy excellent or very good and 90% would recommend it to others.
Online-Therapy.com offer three subscription plans that gives varied access to their online therapy services depending on your needs. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your subscription at any time.
Sessions with a licensed therapist occur weekly at 45 minutes each through either video, voice, or text. The platform also offers unlimited messaging to your therapist throughout the week. Their premium plan includes two weekly 45-minute live sessions and express replies. You can also change your therapist at any time with a click of a button.
Unlike other online therapy services, Online-Therapy.com also offers the most complete online therapy toolbox there is. The toolbox includes yoga and meditation videos, an activity plan and tests, a journal, sections, worksheets, and your therapist’s responses to the worksheets aimed to complement your therapy sessions and promote self-care.
Learn more about Online-Therapy.com
Online therapy isn’t perfect, but neither is traditional therapy. So is online therapy better or worse for treating trauma?
Research claims that it is just as effective as in-person therapy. But in the end, it just really depends on you.
Online therapy can be a great alternative option to traditional talk therapy. But it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s for everyone. It depends on your needs, preferences, and your circumstances. However, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
If you’re interested in trying online therapy for treating your trauma or abuse, create an account at Online-Therapy.com today and get started. And if it’s not something you find helpful, you can stop anytime. Remember, this is about you and your healing journey. Do what you think is best.
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Hi there, I’m Estee. Having grown up with a physically and emotionally abusive mother, I know how isolating, frustrating, and hopeless everything could feel – back then as a child and even now as an adult.
I am always trying to better learn, understand, and manage the effects of the abuse I experienced. And this healing journey I’m on inspired me to create Hopeful Panda, a place where others who faced childhood abuse can hopefully find support, resources, and motivation to begin healing.
A lot of time and effort is put into this blog – for me and for you. If you enjoy my content or find it helpful, please consider sharing and/or making a donation. Thank you!