Imagine cozying up in your favorite blanket, while the rich aroma of a fresh cup of coffee brings you calm. You flip on your phone or laptop, greet your therapist, and ease into a conversation where you feel relaxed.
This is the future of teletherapy that is here to stay, long after the pandemic is over. And guess what- It really works! The rise of websites like Better Help and Talkspace has changed the way we do mental health. As you’re looking for a therapist that fits with you, think about these 5 benefits of telehealth (especially if you have anxiety).
1. Save time and commute costs.
This one is huge. For folks with financial difficulties, lack of access to transportation, we can already eliminate the most essential barrier of being able to show up. Bus fare and the cost of gas adds up.
And if time is money, then saving 2-3 hours in travel time is a fortune! For those with disabilities and who live in remote areas, you can now access services more easily. If you want to access a provider with a specialty or who speaks a different language, you no longer need to live in the same city. No need to stress about rushing between your appointments or worry about the weather. With virtual therapy, the only commuting you need to do is between your bed to your computer!
2. Less anxiety in your own home.
Just the thought of going to your first therapy or coaching session is enough to turn anxious folks away, especially if you are going through mental health challenges. It is not easy to open up to a stranger in an enclosed room with the intent of discussing vulnerable topics. Don’t worry. Everybody feels uncomfortable being in a brand new environment, it’s perfectly normal!
I hear from my own clients that they become on edge in a physical waiting room, which can sometimes feel like a doctor’s office. You sit on a strange chair, perhaps need to use the washroom, or worry about running into someone you know.
In virtual care, you get to explore sessions with your therapist in your own temple! For many people with anxiety, it can make all the difference to have comforting items close by. It feels safer. Personally, I find that my virtual clients are able to relax more, without feeling pressure to present a certain way in person.
3. A different kind of privacy.
Although it requires time management to avoid disturbances from children or other people living in the house, you never need to worry about running into somebody you know in the waiting room. Licensed teletherapy providers should also be using virtual software that complies with local telehealth standards, to ensure confidentiality.
This is a different story for people in unsafe home or those experiencing domestic violence. This is not your fault. Please seek out a local resource, or you can visit Safe Horizon which is an international website.
4. It’s (often) cheaper.
Many therapists and coaches who offer virtual sessions often have a reduced rate. This is because they do not need to rent space. It’s a plus for you, and for them!
5. Less missed appointments from sick days.
This point is extra important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since there is no risk of spreading germs, many therapists do not mind if you have the sniffles during a session.
That being said, it is okay to set limits and listen to your own body. If you feel unwell due to sickness, headaches, etc., it can sometimes be more beneficial to reschedule an appointment.
“There are many ways of getting strong, sometimes talking is the best way.”
― Andre Agassi, Open
This can be a awesome time to begin your journey of healing or growth, with a therapist or a personal coach. Although I wrote about 5 benefits, there are still things to consider with virtual therapy. For example, technical difficulties with internet or phone, privacy on camera, and differences in some insurance coverage providers. I always say it’s super important to feel comfortable with your provider, and have your questions answered!
Your story. How has online therapy worked for you? Have you got some tips and thoughts that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, as I love to hear your feedback.