When Covid came along, a lot of therapists were a little sceptical about telehealth appointments.
It was reassuring to hear that the research was suggesting that this way of doing therapy was just the same as face-to-face therapy. In fact, when they did a meta-analysis (where you group together lots of separate studies) this showed that telehealth was as effective or better!
[Snoswell, et al., 2021]
But many therapists were wondering, would it feel the same? In short, I think for most people, the answer is yes! Conversing on a screen now feels pretty normal, and in many ways whether therapy is in the same room or online, both the client and therapist can still develop an effective therapeutic relationship, can still discuss the same topics and can still work towards mutual goals. As opposed to a physio or a dentist, there is very little that can’t be done in an in-person psychology session that can’t be done in an online one.
And indeed, there are actually a whole lot of benefits of doing telehealth therapy. I mean first of all, you don’t have to drive through traffic or stand on a train/tram for however long. You really do get that hour or so either side of your appointment back!
As well as a time saver, for many people telehealth also allows them to create their own personalised therapy space. They can be in their own surroundings – sitting on their couch in their Uggs with their cat on their lap or wherever feels right for them. And it seems that in many instances, this establishes a safe space which allows people to really get into their therapy session! Even better, at the end of the session, when you might be feeling a bit vulnerable or still processing something, you don’t have to face the world, you can just ease back into it at a gentler pace!
And of course for some people, depending on where you live, telehealth may be the only way you can access a psychologist or access one within a reasonable timeframe. But even for those who do have options, it can still allow greater choice to access a therapist who specialises in a certain therapy or condition, or who you feel would be a really great fit! Telehealth really does create a greater equality in getting the service or the therapist that is right for you!
Of course, whilst there are some definite benefits to telehealth, there are also some points to keep in mind when setting up these sessions:
- Technology – It goes without saying that a telehealth session can really suffer if your internet/device is struggling! Try and test this out before the session.
- Privacy – Obviously confidentiality is paramount, so make sure you can be in a space where you know that no one can hear/see you. Sometimes earphones can help with this, but again test it out first! There is nothing worse than worrying that your housemates/parents/partner are privy to your therapy session!
- Distractions – You will need a quiet, uninterrupted space to really focus. Make sure you are off the work meeting, that someone else is looking after the kids/energetic puppy and the TV/phone/smart watch/etc is off!
- Camera – Set up your camera so that your therapist can see your face and the level of light allows them to see your expression. Whilst therapy sessions can be done on the phone, the communication is much better if you can both see as well as hear each other!
So what are you waiting for… book a telehealth psychology session today!