Advantages and disadvantages of online psychotherapy

Online psychotherapy offers a series of advantages for those who require psychological attention. Still, it also has some downsides. Here we review them.

Last update: August 01, 2021

Today, new technologies simplify many activities. Now for example psychotherapy on-line it is a way of receiving psychological care. From the comfort of home, people have sessions with their therapists. With this, transportation problems, time, among other inconveniences are completely eliminated.

This method allows patients to contact their trusted psychologist, regardless of where they are. In this way, distance is no longer an obstacle to treating mental health. However, there are also some disadvantages to this therapeutic process. Which? We detail them below.

How does online psychotherapy work?

Conventional therapies are a process of face-to-face interaction between a specialist and his patients. In psychotherapy on-line, interaction occurs through the use of new technologies. For example, having a video call with patients is the most used resource today.

There are various technological tools that facilitate communication between people and their therapists. Such is the case of Zoom, a platform designed to schedule and organize video conferences. In addition, there are also the alternatives of Google Meet or video calls by WhatsApp.

Once the patient and the professional choose the means to make contact, the process is comfortable and simple. Initially, the therapist conducts a short interview to obtain the person's data. The direct observation process will depend on the quality of the video call image..

The most widely used psychotherapies on-line they are the second and third generation. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy. Since it is a remote process, therapists rely on conversational techniques.

The psychologists on-line take advantage of technological tools that facilitate communication with patients, no matter where they are.


5 advantages of online psychotherapy

Right now, there are many patients who benefit from this modality. It is also important to note that more and more therapists are adopting technology as a resource. Let's see a list of some of the benefits that telepsychology offers.

1. Higher level of privacy

For some people it is difficult to go to therapy due to social stigmas. And it is that, often, many are labeled "crazy" for seeking psychological help. In the case of telepsychology, there is the possibility of scheduling and having sessions from home. Undoubtedly, it is a situation that helps maintain anonymity.

2. Provides patient safety

Many find it more comfortable to express themselves when they feel in a safe environment. In this sense, it is understood that, from their homes, patients are more open to talking about their conflicts.

When the process occurs from a known location, there are fewer barriers. In this sense, it becomes easier to talk about sensitive topics. For example, the processes of mourning for the death of a loved one, the separation of a couple, sexual abuse or rape.

3. Personal comfort

This point could be considered the most remarkable of psychotherapy on-line. The comfort of not having to leave home is quite beneficial for people with motor problems. Either way, as long as the patients have internet connectivity, they will be able to receive psychological care.

This benefit also applies to therapists, who can work from home. Transfers from one place to another to treat patients who are in different locations are a problem of the past. Today, a psychologist can provide support both to people in their community and to others on the other side of the world.

4. Higher level of reach

Great technological advances allow connect with people in different parts of the world without difficulty. Although initially the idea of ​​doing therapy on-line it was not well received, with time it was gaining a place. Even today it is a form endorsed by professionals around the world.

5. Ease of follow-up

Another positive characteristic of telepsychology is the ease it gives to the monitoring process. Now it is common for patients to be in contact with their therapists via messaging of WhatsApp, Telegram or other means that allows instant communication.



3 disadvantages of online psychotherapy

In another vein, telepsychology also has certain drawbacks. Although they are not limiting situations, it is important to know its possible complications. Below we review a list of the disadvantages of using technology in the therapeutic process. Let's see it.

1. It hinders fluid communication

It is possible that during telepsychology sessions there may be internet connectivity problems. When connections are poor, communication does not happen in the best way. This situation hinders the therapeutic rituals.

2. Complications to apply psychological tests (test)

During the psychological care process, some tests are usually applied to evaluate patients. When the therapeutic session is face-to-face, the application of the test is simple. But nevertheless, in telepsychology applying the tests is complicated. It is impossible to fully observe the patient during execution.

3. Technical drawbacks

It is logical to think that to provide this type of care the specialist and the patients must know the operation of the necessary technological resources. However, this is not always the case. In some cases, people become overwhelmed.

When you do not have an adequate management of technology, it is not advisable to start a therapeutic process on-line. The ideal is to learn the essentials regarding communication tools before starting this method.

For the therapy on-line to be effective, it is essential to have a good Internet connection and know how to handle the tools.

How to choose an online therapist?

After you have reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of psychotherapy on-line, we can better choose our therapist. In summary, We must know the type of therapy that the professional imparts and the management that demonstrates of the new technologies applied to communication.

The ideal would be to choose a therapist who is trained in second and third generation therapies. As we already mentioned, these therapeutic models are based on a conversational process. It is also important to take into account the experience of the therapist in the modality on-line.

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