Is Online Therapy Right for You?

Jennifer Hyatt (DBA Storm Haven, Counseling and Wellness) has offered virtual (online) Telehealth therapy sessions since 2017. 

Telehealth therapy sessions, such as virtual or online therapy, has become an increasingly popular choice for many clients. All sessions are offered on a secure and confidential platform.  

While this page serves as a general overview of some of the benefits and, in contrast, disadvantages to online therapy, it does not encompass all benefits and/ or disadvantages.

Benefits of Online Therapy

Convenience of appointments.  No more squeezing one more appointment into an already full day, scrambling to get to your therapist office, spending precious time maneuvering traffic, or factoring in the cost of gas.

It is private.  There does not exist the possibility of running into someone you know in the waiting room.

Reduces risk of exposure when community exposure to sickness is at a higher rate.

Comfort.  You can log on from anywhere in the state of California from the comfort of your own home.  This is especially beneficial if you live in a rural area and it is difficult to get into traditional, in-person therapy.  

Reduced stigma.  Oftentimes clients may worry about the stigma of mental health and attending therapy in a more traditional office setting.

Getting to the heart of things.  Clients, who attend online therapy, may feel a greater sense of anonymity and thus may feel more motivated to get the heart of the challenge more readily than in traditional therapy.  This may result in faster healing for the client and a more expedited form of therapy.

Consistency.  If a client is sick, they do not have to cancel as is with traditional, in-person therapy.

Accessibility.  Online therapy allows many clients to overcome barriers that may have otherwise prevented them from seeking therapy.

For more on how to make the most out of online sessions visit: Telehealth Therapy: It’s Not Just Another Video Call

Disadvantages/ Concerns/ Disclaimers

Important to note, online therapy may not be a good fit for some clients.  With this in mind, therapists often offer a free brief consultation to client’s entering through my private practice to determine if online therapy may be a good fit for them.

Crisis Support. Since Storm Haven, Counseling & Wellness offers online therapy for the whole state of California, online therapy can place the therapist and client at a distance geographically, so it is oftentimes difficult to respond quickly and effectively when a crisis happens. In example, if a client is experiencing active suicidal thoughts and/or has suffered a personal tragedy, it can be difficult or even impossible for the therapist to provide direct or even immediate assistance. Mitigation: You may be able to work with your therapist to identify local resources and support should a crisis occur.

Severe Conditions. Similarly, online therapy is not appropriate for clients with severe psychiatric conditions who require a higher level of care via direct treatment. Mitigation: If Storm Haven is unable to meet your needs, we may be able to provide referrals to a provider who can.

Technology. Online therapy may not be a good fit for you if you are not comfortable with technology. Mitigation: Your therapist may be able to offer a consultation online through a secure and confidential platform in order to, in a way, test the waters and determine if online therapy and technology may be a good fit for you.

Network Connection. Connectivity and reliability of your online service provider.  Clients will need to ensure they have the proper internet speed in order to reliably connect to an online session.  Mitigation: If you can stream an online movie, you should be good to go; however, your therapist will review a backup plan should a technology issue arise.

Privacy may be a concern if you do not have a private space to prevent another person from eavesdropping wherein they may overhear sensitive content.  Mitigation: Clients are often able to get creative with finding a private space to overcome this barrier. For example, finding a private place (e.g., meeting from your parked car) to prevent interruptions. You may also want to use a fan or sound machine outside a room for added privacy. Your Therapist may also be able to brainstorm with you and offer additional creative solutions to best alleviate this concern and secure privacy.

Body Language. Lack of body language and the possibility for miscommunication. Mitigation: While this is a valid concern, it may be easily remedied with consistent, open, and honest communication with your therapist—clarifying when needed.

Miscommunication is a concern that may be present in “How will I connect with my therapist if we meet online?” Mitigation: Often this concern is alleviated once a rhythm is established. Clients often report they feel like they are in the same room as their therapist while in session. Consistent, open, and honest communication with your therapist is encouraged. Your therapist may be able to further mitigate your concerns by showing you tips and tricks to feeling a greater connection (e.g., how to position your camera to feel the connection).

Is Online Therapy Effective?

Over the last decade there have been numerous research studies that have shown the effectiveness of online therapy.

Here are a few of the research studies that highlight these findings:

If you are interested in pursuing virtual/online therapy sessions, you may contact us here

Published by Jennifer Hyatt, Counseling & Wellness

Jen Hyatt (she/her) is an integrative psychotherapist in the healing arts practice offering in person and online therapy and counseling towards the intentional life and optimal wellness.

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