Updated: Apr 6
Until recently, the only way a person could get access to a psychiatrist or therapist was to make an appointment at their office. That usually meant taking time off work or school to get to that appointment. In many cases, this made accessing therapy particularly difficult, as many employers and teachers are apt not to allow an employee or student to miss that much work or class.
While online therapy or virtual therapy appointments has been around for several years, it has only been in the past three years that this type of therapy has become popular. The pandemic forced many people to accept using online therapy, but a significant number of patients discovered that they preferred this type of appointment.
Of course, virtual therapy isn't the right choice for everyone. If you're thinking of trying it with John Maret Counseling, see if these conditions apply to you:
1. You have a good internet connection and are comfortable using it.
If your internet connection is unreliable, virtual therapy may become a more frustrating experience than a helpful one. While your connection doesn't have to be top-notch, you will need to be able to stream video and audio for at least an hour.
Of course, it's also critical that you are comfortable using technology such as Zoom or other video chat software. Video chat is the best way to conduct therapy because it allows both parties to see each other, allowing the therapist to see body language and other contexts.
2. You can set aside at least an hour of uninterrupted time for your appointments.
One of the most important factors that determine whether online therapy and counseling services will work for you is whether or not you can have an uninterrupted hour in your home or office. Specifically, this is an issue of the privacy that you have during the times that appointments are available.
Many people don't feel comfortable talking to a therapist about their feelings and thoughts with family members or co-workers around. If these people can listen in on an appointment session, odds are good that you won't want to share anything useful with your therapist. Some people can set up a private session by closing the door to their office or bedroom, while others know that their therapy time would be interrupted by people constantly knocking on the door.
Other possible solutions to this problem are to set up sessions from a laptop in your car (stored in the driveway or garage) or find an alternative activity for the people in your house while you have your appointment. If you cannot have a private conversation in your home or office, consider setting up in-person sessions to communicate freely with your therapist.
3. You need to access a wider range of professionals.
Virtual therapy has made therapy more accessible than ever. Previously, this mental health care was almost completely unavailable to people who lived in rural areas, moved frequently, or worked irregular hours. Virtual therapy allows patients to access many professional counselors, therapists, and psychologists.
Virtual therapy may be the only available option if you cannot access traditional therapy. This method of care makes a lot of sense if you need a therapist with a particular specialty.
For example, a veteran may use virtual therapy to find a therapist specializing in combat-related issues. If this veteran lives in an area without a large military population, odds are good that they do not have counselors specializing in these particular problems. Virtual therapy can also be an ideal choice for patients who need accommodations, such as a speech-to-text software application for a patient who is hard of hearing.
If you're a patient who does not have good options for therapists in your town, virtual therapy can be a great way to get the care you need. At John Maret Counseling, we have virtual patients from all over the nation and even a few international ones. A therapist doesn't have to live near you to provide the care you need.
4. You feel comfortable expressing yourself virtually.
Finally, remember that virtual counseling will only work if you are comfortable with the idea of virtual therapy. There can be a lot of reasons why a person would prefer to meet with a therapist in person. Privacy concerns or the ability to connect with the counselor are often cited as common reasons for not wanting virtual therapy. Still, these are not the only reasons a person would like to see a therapist in an office.
A therapist often needs to see you to assess your body language and verbal communication. Of course, it can be challenging to determine your level of comfort with virtual therapy if you have never tried it before. For this reason, many patients who aren't sure if this is the right choice for them are encouraged to try a few sessions, then determine if they would want to continue or if they would want to meet in person.
If you're thinking of trying online therapy, visit John Maret Counseling. Our professionals would happily set you up with a trial appointment to determine if online therapy is a good choice. Contact us today!