Digital therapy can be just as effective as in-person treatment, according to several studies done especially in connection to CBT(cognitive behaviour therapy).
In the age of social-distancing, researchers say this is a promising find.
With most offices closed down, many psychologists and counselors are treating their clients remotely, using tools such as phone calls, Zoom, and Skype.
Employees who are working from home don’t even have to give their boss the “doctor’s appointment” excuse.
Prior to COVID-19, if you were going to be providing tele-health, the expectation was that you were going to really do your research and make sure that you have a product that meets the type of requirements to ensure privacy and security.There were a lot of paperwork and legal hurdles to overcome before actually going about providing virtual therapy.
But with the start of the pandemic it was clear that requiring that level of vetting was really going to slow down the transition and really disrupt continuity of care in many areas related to healthcare.
Therapy delivered through zoom or Skype can be just as effective as the kind delivered in person. Some people even attend more therapy sessions remotely than they would otherwise because of the sheer convenience of it all.
After the pandemic, what will make a big difference in mental-health treatment is whether patients get their choice of therapy.
In general, treatment works better if it is what the patient wants.
Medication works better for people who want medication.
Therapy works better for those who want to talk with someone. And the same will likely hold true for our post-pandemic future.
Those who want to continue Zooming with their therapist will see an upside to not having to go into their office.
I’ve done a little survey with my own clients and these were the advantages and disadvantages that they perceived regarding virtual therapy.
•People in remote areas or those with transportation difficulties may have easier access to virtual therapy.
•Scheduling is more convenient for many people.
•It can be easier for some people to reveal private information when they're sharing it online.This was confirmed by almost everyone I’ve worked with in the capacity of Rapid Transformational therapist.
•Individuals with anxiety, especially social anxiety, are more likely to reach out to an online therapist.The comfort of receiving therapy without attempting to leave the house improves their compliance to stick with the therapy & do the work.
•Online therapy isn't meant for people with certain problems or conditions (such as suicidal intent or psychosis).
•Technological issues can become a barrier.Dropped calls, frozen videos can all be extremely frustrating to both the therapist and the client.
•It can be difficult for therapists to intervene in the event of a crisis.This holds good for most people with severe mental illness.
•Therapy can be interrupted by presence of family members,children or pets which is never an issue when you meet your doctor or therapist face to face.
RTT (via online or in-person) is contraindicated in clients with known diagnosis of schizophrenia,any psychotic illness,history of epilepsy,any condition that can cause dissociation like Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.
In balance,I feel that the benefits outweigh the risks with regard to RTT being delivered online via Zoom or Skype especially during a time of global crisis like the COVID pandemic.
This will help reduce the pressure experienced by General Practitioners atleast in the UK where primary care is on its knees with the burden of increased number of patients turning up for issues related to mental health.
Once client confidentiality is ensured by all the various legal processes already present,there is absolutely nothing that is stopping clients from coming forward to begin their healing process.
With love & Gratitude,