Find out what Online Therapy actually is, why so many therapists are backing it and why so many people are now choosing it over in-clinic delivery of best therapy practices.
We look at traditional in-clinic delivery of therapy and why it would be more suitable for some and why online therapy, while it ticks many convenience, boxes may not be the best delivery format for for all.
At long last, mental health is starting to become more openly talked about and we’re seeing an increase in coverage in the media. We are also beginning to understanding the importance of looking after our mental wellbeing as much as we do our physical health.
At any one time, a sixth of the population in England aged 16 to 64 have a mental health problem, according to recent statistics released by NHS Digital. Whether it is family or friends, neighbours or work colleagues, the chances are we all know someone who is affected. This figure leaves out less common conditions and is a snapshot in time, you could easily argue it is even more prevalent.
In the UK, NHS funding for Mental Health services is disproportionately low. Mental health conditions make up around 28% of the total burden of disease, but receive just 13% of the total NHS budget. Faced with long waiting lists, limited choice in the type of therapy and scheduling of treatment offered by the NHS, people are finding new ways to access help from qualified therapists when they most need it using Online Therapy.
What is Online Therapy?
Online therapy (aka cyber-therapy, tele-therapy or e-therapy) is a blanket phrase for services delivering therapy either passively through app-based support or actively through sessions hosted on video calls.
My Therapist online specialises in live video based online therapy. All therapists registered with My Therapist Online are UK experts in the field as well as experts in the delivery of video therapy.
A growing amount of research has shown online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (a common treatment for depression & anxiety) to be equally effective, or in some cases better to that of in-person therapy. The research has also shown high levels of satisfaction in clients accessing this method of help.
How does online video therapy work?
Real-time online therapy is the exact same process as in-person counselling or psychotherapy:
You are matched with a therapist qualified with the right skills and experience to best meet your needs.
You meet regularly with your therapist using a live video platform of your choice, such as Skype or FaceTime
Instead of talking in the same room, you talk over video call on your laptop or tablet.
You receive best treatment that works to help you recover from your problems typically between 6-8 sessions.
Online therapy is fast becoming the solution to barriers people face in accessing the support they need. But why are people choosing online over a traditional in-clinic therapy?
The most common reasons people want the convenience of online therapy include;
You don’t have to travel, sit in a waiting room or sit on a long waiting list to speak to a therapist
You can access the same therapy as in-clinic, but from anywhere, from the comfort or your home or wherever you feel most comfortable.
You can schedule therapy sessions for times that are most convenient for you, including evenings and weekends.
People can access the right therapist and type of therapy for their need despite living in rural locations or far away from a specialist.
You can access therapy even if you struggle to leave the house.
It is extremely discreet so you don’t have to tell anyone
What people saying about their experience of online therapy.
“Online therapy has worked brilliantly for me as it provided the flexibility I needed whilst working abroad and not able to meet during office hours. I couldn't be happier with the overall experience and only wish I had found my way to this therapy years ago.”
"It proved to be a very convenient way of accessing a therapist who specialised in my phobia and anxiety disorder, without the need for travel.”
"I thought I would have to travel into London to see a specialist in Anxiety Disorders - this (online therapy) has saved me a lot of stress”
While online therapy seems to be a better fit for many, is it the best fit for all?
As more and more people try therapy with video calls, health professionals and therapy users have started a healthy debate about the pros and cons of online versus traditional in-clinic therapy.
The drawbacks of online therapy people need to consider include;
Due to the remote nature of its delivery, online therapy is not able to help those who are in crisis or having thoughts about harming themselves or another person.
Online therapy is not recommended for those who have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, people dealing with multiple mental health problems or if they have been advised to be supported by a community mental health team.
If your internet connection is patchy or unreliable, it can significantly impact the flow of a therapy session.
Many of the larger health insurers do not yet recognise online therapy.
It ultimately comes down to preference.
Some people do not feel comfortable talking over a computer screen and prefer the clinic room environment and in-person interaction. Also, the commitment of setting aside the time to attend an in-person appointment can help as well as separating it from work or home life.
The therapist-client relationship is an important one that requires trust to open up and ultimately take the steps they need in order to make positive changes.
Being comfortable and trusting a person is a hugely important part of feeling able to open up and explore your problems in therapy. From this position of openness, a therapist can best help guide you towards solutions to the areas you want to address.
Online therapy is a way of accessing help from the comfort of your home and with the convenience of no travel. You start treatment in a familiar environment which can enable you to more easily open up the conversation and help you get to the real heart of the problems.
Therapist Paul Gebka-Scuffins describes his experience of delivering online therapy: “The ‘bubble of intimacy’ (as I call it) counterbalances the fact we are not sitting in the room together. The safety and comfort of the home environment, empowers our clients, allows for them to open up more.”
While online therapy is a valuable way to expand your options, if you don’t feel able to connect with your therapist, it could act as a big barrier to the therapy being as effective as possible.
So maybe the debate for some is not about the format of the therapy delivery, but who is delivering it? People trying online or in clinic therapy need to make sure they are seeing a qualified, certified and skilled professional. A well qualified therapist who can deliver the most appropriate treatment for a person’s needs, and in a way that they feel able to connect and trust that therapist’s skills.
Online video therapy may not always a replacement for in clinic treatment for mental health difficulties, it can offer increased choice and flexibility. It could break down the barriers for some to take that first and all important step in seeking help, which they may not have done with an in-clinic format.
Online or in-clinic, don’t wait until crisis point before accessing the help you need. In the face of the apparent mental health crisis in the UK, online video therapy is ultimately able to widen the accessibility of best practice treatment to people who may otherwise be unable to receive any care at all, meet the needs of those who’s lifestyle can not accommodate traditional in-clinic 9-5 therapy or for those who want to access help when they need it, rather than sit on a 6 month-2 year long waiting list to receive it.
Ultimately therapy (whether it is online or in a clinic) is about talking to a trained professional about things that are happening in your life and exploring changes to the way that you think and behave to help you feel better. This is something that most people would probably benefit from.
Your difficulties are worth it. No matter how minimal they feel.
If something is affecting you and preventing you from being the best version of yourself, then it is worth reaching out and asking a professional to help guide you through these road blocks to access a path towards being happy again.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Director of My Therapist Online
Online Therapy is the modern way of accessing the best therapeutic help from wherever you want and whenever you need it.
My Therapist Online and connects people who want to better their wellbeing and happiness with the right therapist for their needs.
When you contact My Therapist Online, a qualified therapist (not an algorithm!) matches you to the best therapist for your needs.
Online therapy means you get to access the best UK therapists, no matter where you live.
My Therapist Online has no waiting lists & no waiting rooms.
Access the BEST therapists from the comfort of your home, or wherever you feel most comfortable to talk.
All our therapists are qualified, accredited, experts in their clinical fields.
We also offer everyone a FREE initial consultation ahead of starting any paid treatment.