Telehealth options for mental health treatment are increasing in popularity and significance. With this rise of telehealth, you may find yourself asking how to choose between online and in-person therapy. In this blog, we will discuss the pros and cons of each type of therapy.
What Is Online Therapy?
Online therapy (telehealth) offers mental health support from anywhere by utilizing technology such as text messaging, e-mail, phone calls, and video call services. According to the National Library of Medicine, online therapy is equally effective as in-person therapy for treating mental health concerns.
Pros & Cons of Online Therapy
First, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of online therapy.
- Access: Do you live in a rural area or lack transportation? Online therapy will allow you access to care from your home with no need for transportation.
- Privacy: Are you concerned about your privacy? Online therapy offers the benefit of therapy from the privacy of a space where you feel safe and comfortable. It also reduces some of the stigma attached to therapy by eliminating the need to be seen in an office setting.
- Availability: Do you have a busy schedule? Online therapy often offers a wide variety of appointment times without a long waiting list.
- Technology Access: In order to participate in online therapy, you will need access to certain types of technology such as stable internet connection and a phone or laptop.
- Insurance Coverage: If you are wanting to use insurance to help with the financial responsibilities of therapy, you will need to check with your provider to be sure they cover telehealth services.
- Possible Lack of Intimacy: Are you a person who prefers face-to-face contact? That is a question you will want to answer before starting with online therapy.
Pros & Cons of In-Person Therapy
Now, what are the pros and cons of in-person therapy?
- Focus & Attention: Blocking off time to drive to an in-person appointment might allow you time to focus yourself on the appointment. Being in a therapist’s office will also provide a neutral space away from your everyday life that could make you more comfortable sharing personal information.
- Accountability: Because of the physical presence required, you might be more likely to consistently show up for your appointments.
- More Therapeutic Interventions: Expressive therapies like play, music, and art therapy can be more effective when used in person. Additionally, being in-person could allow your therapist to better read nonverbal and visual cues in your body language and demeanor.
- Accessibility: Do you have the ability to get to in-person appointments?
- Scheduling: Do you need an appointment immediately? Sometimes in-person therapy can have a longer waiting time due to counselor availability and scheduling.
What Are Therapists Saying?
According to the National Library of Medicine, therapists generally have positive attitudes toward online therapy.
When asked about in-person and online therapy options, Garrett Counseling’s counselors had these things to say:
“I see the benefits to both online and in-person therapy, but in-person allows for a better connection with clients from my experience.” – Megan Campbell, LPC-S, NCC
“For me, it depends on the person… In-person can appear unsafe to some with the pandemic still having so much uncertainty.” – LaTasha Toney, LICSW, PIP
Get Started With Therapy
If you are ready to begin therapy, online or in-person, Garrett Counseling has counselors ready to support you. We have offices in Jacksonville, Boaz, and Huntsville, AL for in-person appointments. We also have counselors on staff who are focused solely on online counseling appointments. Contact us today at (256) 239-5662 or online to get started.
This article was written by Rashada Smith, LPC, a mental health professional at Garrett Counseling in Jacksonville, AL. Learn more about Rashada here.