Telehealth therapy became a mainstream, accepted treatment option during the pandemic. However, before a world-altering, contagious illness entered the stage, teletherapy primarily was a dormant, “fringe” counseling option.
But the pandemic did for telecounseling what may have otherwise taken years or even decades to achieve. It rushed telehealth mental health counseling into the mainstream as a viable and accepted treatment method. Teletherapy counseling became the perfect example of “necessity is the mother of invention.”
So, as the pandemic becomes less of a concern, some wonder whether virtual counseling will phase out and face-to-face therapy will return to its pre-pandemic levels. But what we’re finding thus far is that teletherapy, for several significant reasons, is here to stay. Here’s a closer look at why that’s the case.
The Therapeutic Outcomes Have Been Positive
One of the main worries of some service providers before the pandemic was that teletherapy may not deliver consistent positive outcomes compared with in-person sessions.
It also didn’t help that it was often difficult to get insurance companies to cover remote therapy visits. Also, many individuals seeking therapy were not comfortable with the idea of virtual visits. And if the person seeking treatment is not confident in the way services are delivered right out of the gate, that’s not a good place to start if you want the best outcomes.
However, since we were forced to adjust to video therapy due to COVID, a level of confidence emerged. Most importantly, many individuals felt they got the results they needed through teletherapy. And therapists took notice too.
This is one of several primary reasons teletherapy is here to stay even as the pandemic winds down. It works! And that is the most critical consideration of all.
A Unique Opportunity for Individuals with Anxiety Disorders
Another specific reason teletherapy will remain strong is because some mental health disorders make it challenging to attend in-person therapy appointments. This could be due to debilitating social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, or panic disorders.
In the past, these individuals would’ve been stuck with the hard choice of either forgoing therapy or being so stressed out by in-person treatment that it could be detrimental to their progress.
Also, depressed individuals can struggle with excessive fatigue and other interfering challenges. Previously, these individuals were more likely to cancel appointments or miss them altogether as a result. But some individuals with depression find it easier to attend virtual therapy since it doesn’t require as much energy as going out in public.
There are many other specific mental health scenarios besides anxiety and depression where teletherapy makes the most sense from a treatment standpoint.
Easier to Include Family in Treatment
Those in therapy often find it easier to include family members in treatment with remote counseling. This is a valuable consideration as teletherapy is poised to be a counseling mainstay for many years to come.
With various family members’ scheduling demands, it can be tough to coordinate in-person counseling sessions. But this obstacle needs to be overcome since other family members’ involvement in the treatment process is often vital.
Yes, your therapist has the expertise to guide you in your mental wellness journey, but your family is there with you day in and day out. They’re there for you when life is great and when it’s not so great. You’re a team, and you all need to be on the same page for a family member’s treatment to go well.
Teletherapy allows for the unique opportunity to provide just that. You can learn how to work together as a family for the best mental health results. Another perk is that some family members may be more comfortable with online counseling than with in-person sessions.
Virtual Therapy: Too Many Benefits to Ignore
Although remote counseling isn’t for everyone, a surprising number of people are finding positive benefits to this treatment form. Although these advantages are significant, they don’t wholly snuff out the idea of face-to-face counseling. Still, remote therapy provides some of the following unique benefits:
Increased comfort for some
Greater confidentiality in many cases
No need for a commute
Opportunities to see therapists outside your driving distance
An excellent therapy option for homebound individuals
A Bright Future for Teletherapy
Some virtual counseling rollouts were understandably clunky when the pandemic first began. None of us expected the worldwide events that would usher in teletherapy for good. Patients and therapists alike weren’t used to the set-up in many cases. And there were plenty of technology setbacks, even for mental health treatment centers with abundant resources.
But out of those very challenging days came a mental health delivery advantage the world has never seen on this scale. Each day, our skills and understanding of teletherapy grow. Technology improves, and so do we. We also learn both the advantages and limitations of video counseling at a greater level.
In his “Psychology Today” article entitled The Data Are In: Telehealth is Here to Stay, David Scharff shares the following:
“We will need to know much more — about effective telehealth strategies, about standards of practice, about screen fatigue, and about our ability to act as effective therapists in this capacity — before we can guarantee a consistent standard of practice similar to that of the century-old practice of in-person therapy.”
As Scharff’s shares, each day, we find ways to continually improve remote therapy for the individuals we serve.
Have You Considered Telehealth Therapy?
Virtual counseling could be an excellent solution to the mental health concerns you or a loved one currently face. Many who have tried it are seeing significant improvements in their well-being. Whether you seek individual counseling, couples teletherapy, or teletherapy marriage counseling, the OC Relationship Center can assist you.
You are welcome to contact us if you’d like to learn more about our services. Also, feel free to schedule an appointment with us.