The world has undergone massive changes when it comes to technology. Mankind used to write letters and wait days until the person they are writing to receives it. Now, we can talk to anyone, may it be through chatting or video calls, from different parts of the world. We have seen the rise of technology and the internet bring about a lot of benefits which have made our lives easier. A notable sector that has been digitized is healthcare. Because of technology and the internet, teletherapy (also known as online therapy or virtual therapy) has become increasingly popular in the field of mental health. It is a form of therapy that allows patients to connect with licensed mental health professionals online through video conferencing, messaging, or phone calls. The rise of teletherapy has had a significant impact on mental health and the way people access mental health care.
Benefits of Teletherapy
One of the main benefits of teletherapy is accessibility. Teletherapy has made mental health care more accessible to people in remote areas, those with disabilities, and those with limited mobility. This has significantly increased the number of people who can access mental health services. People who were previously unable to access mental health care due to distance, time constraints, or mobility issues can now get the help they need from the comfort of their own homes (Bocci, 2019).
Another benefit of teletherapy is affordability. Traditional face-to-face therapy sessions can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance. Teletherapy, on the other hand, is often more affordable, and many insurance companies now cover online therapy sessions. This has made mental health care more affordable and accessible to a larger group of people (Bocci, 2019).
Teletherapy has also shown to be just as effective as traditional therapy. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that online therapy was just as effective as face-to-face therapy for treating depression (Crowe et al., 2023). Other studies have shown that teletherapy is effective in treating anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health conditions (Tuerk et al., 2018).
The rise of teletherapy has also had a significant impact on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a report written by Hannah Calkins (2021), it was talked about how online therapy is here to stay and how COVID-19 dramatically impacted psychology practice. The pandemic has led to an increase in stress, anxiety, and depression in people worldwide. Social distancing measures have made it difficult for people to access mental health services in person. Teletherapy has provided a much-needed solution, allowing people to receive mental health care without leaving their homes.
Challenges of Teletherapy
There are, however, some challenges associated with teletherapy. One of the main challenges is the lack of personal connection between the therapist and the patient. In traditional face-to-face therapy sessions, the therapist can pick up on nonverbal cues and body language, which can be difficult to do in an online session (Mussachio, 2020). However, teletherapy providers have adapted to this challenge by incorporating video conferencing, which allows for a more personal connection between the therapist and the patient.
In conclusion, the rise of teletherapy has had a significant impact on mental health care. It has made mental health care more accessible, affordable, and effective. Teletherapy has provided a solution to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and has allowed people to receive mental health care without leaving their homes. While there are still some challenges associated with teletherapy, it is clear that it has become an important tool in the field of mental health care and will continue to play a crucial role in revolutionizing the way we approach mental health support and treatment.
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Bocci, G. (2019). 14 benefits of teletherapy for clients. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/millennial-media/201901/14-benefits-teletherapy-clients
Crowe, M., Inder, M., Manuel, J., & Carlyle, D. (2023). Characteristics of effective teletherapy for major depression: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders, 327, 175–182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2023.02.019
Mussachio, K. (2020, May 11). Challenges with Teletherapy. Shoreline Psychotherapy & Behavioral Health, CT. Retrieved from https://shorelinepbh.com/challenges-with-teletherapy/
Tuerk, P. W., Keller, S. M., & Acierno, R. (2018). Treatment for anxiety and depression via clinical videoconferencing: Evidence base and barriers to expanded access in practice. FOCUS, 16(4), 363–369. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.focus.20180027