Telehealth services have been around in regional and remote areas of Australia for quite some time, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated its reach and accessibility to all Australians. Research examining the effectiveness of telehealth started in the 1960s and to date, the empirical evidence tells us that telehealth is essentially just as effective as face-to-face therapy for treating a range of mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.
That being said, there are some advantages and disadvantages to both options:
In-person sessions help us to build rapport and a sense of trust with them because we can pick up on nonverbal communication and body language with more ease. And, there are certain aspects about a person’s energy that are much easier to sense and feeling into when you are seeing them face to face.
Sometimes it’s easier to focus when in a therapist’s office because the environment is controlled and there are usually no distractions, and the sense of separation between your living environment and talking about the problem can sometimes be very beneficial.
Convenience and accessibility are two primary benefits of telehealth sessions. You don’t have to leave your home, take time off work, factor in travel time, worry about finding a car park, etc. Teletherapy makes it possible for people to continue therapy, whether they are quarantined due to COVID-19, unable to leave home, or live in an area where treatment services are limited. It also provides an added layer of privacy, whereby you don’t need to worry about any potential stigma related to attending a therapist’s office.
Online therapy is not for everyone and nor is it suitable for all mental health presentations.
However, for the past 3 years, I have been working with clients across 4 states of Australia, and I personally work with a therapist and mentors in America, England, and Europe. I find telehealth to be an amazing option to have access to exceptional providers that I would not otherwise be able to connect with. So, if you’ve had reservations about participating in online therapy sessions, I really encourage you to consider why you might be holding yourself back.