Right now many people are turning to online therapy in order not to give up the benefits that psychological support can give. Resorting to psychological support in managing anxiety and stress in a delicate moment like the one we are experiencing is essential. One of the most treacherous characteristics of Covid-19 is the fact that, by being transmitted by area from person to person, it has undermined the social fabric on which our common life is based or relationships. Seeing a friend has become an activity that can put the health of oneself and loved ones at risk. If you find nothing is effective and you’re still concerned, it may be time to get professional help from a licensed counselor or psychologist. A solution to this problem has been found in online communication and so psychology has also adapted to this new way of communicating and entering into relationships. Furthermore, social isolation, together with the economic difficulties of this situation, has caused negative effects on the psychological well-being of many people. Fortunately, technological progress has created opportunities for psychologists to meet their patients outside the walls of the real office in a virtual setting conveyed by PC, internet, smartphone, or tablet through applications such as Skype or Whatsapp.
Online counseling has great potential and the benefits have been seen during this sensitive time. However, it was in use even before the pandemic for specific cases.
Some of the benefits of online therapy are:
- Increased accessibility to psychological assistance for people with limited mobility, with time restrictions or people living in hard-to-reach places.
- Many people living in foreign countries can take advantage of psychological help in their mother tongue in order to reduce the cultural gap between patient and therapist.
- Avoiding the stigma that some people may feel about using a mental health service. Asking for help online may cause them less shame.
- Carrying out a session directly online, as well as from the point of view of time, could also save money from an economic point of view as it allows you to avoid traveling by means of transport and the related costs.
- Some specific disorders prevent the person from leaving the house due to anxiety-related difficulties. In these cases, an online path could facilitate the start of a therapeutic path.
Effectiveness of online psychotherapies
It has been shown in various studies that online psychotherapy is as effective in many cases as face-to-face therapy. In particular, it was found that psychological well-being was found to increase in patients who underwent online psychological therapy. A key element that has been studied by many authors is the therapeutic alliance factor in building the relationship between patients and online therapists. The study pointed out that many PTSD patients who received online therapy had a positive therapeutic alliance with the therapist. In the most serious cases, face-to-face therapy is still advisable because it could activate patients’ resources in a more unified way.
The change of the setting
For the first time, the world of the therapist and that of the patient come into contact in sharing the experience of the pandemic that unites them and which forces both of them to make a radical change in their lives. One aspect that every health professional should pay attention to is the change of physical setting that transforms from a concrete room into a virtual room. The patient finds himself observing the therapist from a different perspective inside his home through the webcam. One of the critical issues of this new way of operating, in fact, is the reticence of some patients who do not feel comfortable talking due to the possible presence of family members in the home who could violate their privacy.