Pro/Con Online Therapy

Pros:

Convenience: You can have therapy or a consultation right from your home or office during a time that is convenient for you. There’s no commute, no parking problems.

Accessibility: You can interact with your therapist when you travel, when you don’t drive, don’t have a car, don’t like to drive or when conditions or responsibilities make difficult to leave the house.

Effectiveness: Online therapy has been shown to be as effective as face to face (see references below) and of course if it’s easier to get to you’re more likely to attend.

Privacy: Although there is a negative side to privacy, there are no concerns about being seen walking into a therapist’s office or bumping into a friend as you leave. You can also interact with your therapist without having to take time off of work or make up excuses as to where you are going.

Security/Confidentiality: We will use encrypted email and chat rooms to ensure confidentiality and SKYPE has been shown to be the most secure and confidential video conferencing site.

Cons:

Absence of Physical Proximity: This primarily refers to email or IM/Chat online therapy. Often, much of the healing that takes place in therapy comes from the knowledge that someone is listening to and focusing on you exclusively. You gain empathy from warm facial expressions, and gather hope knowing that someone is physically there for you.

Lack of Non-verbal Cues: Misunderstandings can happen during the course of written commutation because gestures, facial expression or tone of voice are absent. Always ask for clarification.

Privacy and Confidentiality: Privacy is both a pro and a con. As many of us are aware, there are ways to gain access to personal computers, to intercept email, and to install key stroke tracking software that records all of your activity on the computer. If you are using a computer that is shared or accessible to another person they may gain access to some or all of the content of your sessions. This applies to times where there is a written record such as with email and/or IM/Chat. There is no permanent recording of a SKYPE session. It’s important to note that you typically you do not have the right to private correspondence when using a work computer.

Technological Challenges: At times an internet connection can go down or a computer malfunctions and communication via the internet is not possible. So, just like times where there is bad weather that impairs travel, a session may have to be rescheduled. For times like this it is good to have an alternate source of contact with your therapist so that you might notify him/her of the technology problem and vice versa.