While the COVID-19 health crisis dropped society into total chaos for a while, there’s one thing we can certainly be grateful for… technology. Thankfully, the pandemic hit in 2020 and not 1980. With the support of things like Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook, and hundreds of other online programs, we were able to stay connected with one another despite social distancing orders. The advanced technology of the 21st century also made things like work, doctor appointments, and therapy accessible amid the shutdown.
As a therapist and coach, I have insider knowledge into the boom of teletherapy and online counseling during the pandemic and from my lens believe it is here to stay. Even after society opens back up, many therapy practices will continue to offer therapy services in the digital space, myself included.
Wondering why that is? I have a few thoughts…
There are a few reasons why I believe teletherapy and online counseling will continue to gain momentum and build in popularity even once we return to normal (whatever that will look like…)
First, teletherapy is flexible! We don’t know what this new “normal” will consist of… chances are, we will be hit with future waves of the coronavirus and will need to temporarily return to shelter-in-place orders. I expect that this could happen off and on for quite some time. By providing teletherapy, clients can continue their therapy work regardless of the status of social distancing measures. This allows for continuity of treatment and helps clients avoid any disruption of services if or when we need to return to shelter-in-place. It also allows for greater flexibility in hours, which makes it more accessible and easier to schedule for a lot of clients.
Second, teletherapy is efficient! I work with a lot of busy Executives and they don’t have time to hop in a car or cab, drive to my office, sit in a waiting room, have a session, get back in the car, and sit in traffic to get home or back to the office. By offering teletherapy services to my clients, they can access the support they need without adding stress or inconvenience to their day. Moreover, they can process their thoughts before and after sessions without worrying about traffic or distracted driving.
Third, teletherapy is convenient! You can do it from the comfort of your own home, office, boardroom, car, or even hotel room if you’re traveling. As long as you have a private space, you can have a session. This is especially helpful for some individuals, like parents who have to worry about childcare so they can attend in-person sessions. Or people who rely on public transportation to get to and from the therapist’s office. Or college students who are trying to fit therapy in between classes, homework, sports practices, and group activities.
Fourth, teletherapy is established! You might think that teletherapy and online counseling sprung up overnight in the midst of the sudden shelter-in-place orders. In fact, that’s not true. Teletherapy has been around for quite some time and is a very established approach to therapy services. The truth is that though it has been established for years, there were questions about whether the therapeutic relationship might be diminished through teletherapy or if clients would be just as engaged with the therapist. The big reveal is that it is just as effective as in-person therapy, while being more accessible, flexible, and convenient for many clients!
What About Privacy?
One of the concerns I’ve heard clients mention about teletherapy is, “Will we still have privacy if we’re not in an office?” If you’re concerned about privacy and confidentiality during teletherapy online counseling, you don’t have to be. Therapists use a HIPAA-compliant online therapy platform that minimizes any risk to confidentiality. I can also suggest some creative ways to find privacy for sessions, like:
- Sitting outside or going for a walk
- Placing a sound machine outside your room or office to mask noise
- Adding it as a “client call” to your work calendar so colleagues don’t interrupt you during your session time
- Using earbuds so our conversation can’t be overheard
- Doing the session from your car, the garage, or even your closet
- Giving your kiddos “extra” screen time so you have some alone time
- Telling your partner you have a work call that you need privacy for
Teletherapy Is Here To Stay
It’s become clear to those of us in the field that teletherapy and online counseling are a great alternative to in-person sessions. The benefits of this method of delivery are too numerous to ignore, and this option increases accessibility to services in a way that in-person services just can’t. To learn more about my teletherapy and online counseling services, click here.
If you are interested in exploring treatment through teletherapy, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.