The idea of this kind of therapy is not new. The very first attempts to organize a distant treatment were made in the 20th century. For example, the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud often communicated with his patients at a distance, believing that this would be a clinically useful technique. In the 1960s, the helpline was first introduced, and then the hotlines expanded the possibilities of counseling in the field of mental health.
Taking into account that 80% of the modern Internet users are looking for topics related to online health, it is possible to assume that the direction of online therapy has already become very demanded in the 21st century. Following the specialists, a significant increase in online counseling can be seen all around the planet.
The contemporary growth in technological development and the Internet facilities has provided modern consumers with improved or even unique forms of assistant psychotherapy. Up to the present moment, a significant part of people who are living in the countryside areas or any remote territories got an access to counseling. This type of psychological treatment is usually represented by online therapy, online counseling, cyber therapy, etc.
Following the experts, nowadays, it is possible to distinguish some various ways, which are used widely to provide the necessary assistance. The most typical of them are real-time chat or electronic therapy, text messaging, video conferencing, email, and social network therapy. The last one can be provided through Facebook, Viber, Twitter, Messenger, and other online facilities.
Currently, online communications are organized perfectly through emails, various chats, text messages, Skype, Facebook, and Google Plus:
1. An e-mail has got some significant disadvantages, which include, first of all, the lack of synchronization of communication. Such kind of conversation cannot be organized in real-time. However, it is considered to be a quick and free way to communicate, to which almost everyone has access today. It allows the person to make the first appointment or to change the time in the case of necessity.
2. Texting in chat, unlike a telephone conversation, hides voice features, speech rhythm, irony, “double” meanings, and other paralinguistic functions. At the same time, communication takes place in real-time, and the client can quickly receive feedback, as during an in-person session. Nowadays, text messages are often used to remind, cancel, or reschedule therapeutic appointments, promptly delivered at any time.
3. Internet psychotherapy is usually carried out as part of private practice and uses such well-known technologies as Skype, FaceTime, and Google Plus. These tools are readily available for free and are easy to set up and use.
You need to look for a specialist online under the condition you live in a small village, and you do not have the opportunity to find a good psychotherapist in your city to work full-time. In this case, the Internet becomes a real way to solve the issue. Some people live or stay in another country where it is generally difficult or sometimes even impossible to find a specialist, who speaks their native language. Following the experts, also, if you are fluent in the language, cultural differences may interfere with working with a local psychotherapist.
The online assistance is recommended in the situation when you want to work with a specific psychotherapist, who lives far away. For example, you read his or her articles, or know the results of the investigations. Moreover, there are some recognizable specialists in particular directions, and you may need their help or a piece of advice.
Some contemporary people have a strong desire to stay anonymous. Indeed, in the modern world, the work of a psychotherapist is strictly confidential. The specialist does not have the right to disclose not only the details of the work but the names of the clients as well. However, more and more people prefer online assistance to the usual one, especially if the person lives in a small town where everyone knows each other.
Unfortunately, in the modern world, there are a lot of disabled or temporary disabled people who are restricted in their mobility. It may happen for many reasons, the most typical of which are illness, injury, pregnancy, etc. In this case, the help of an online psychotherapist is objectively an excellent way out of the situation. The lack of time is a global problem in contemporary society. Living in a city or even a megapolis, you should have enough time to travel to a psychotherapist. Sometimes the way may take a couple of hours or even longer. Under the condition you are a busy person or, for example, you have a small child, you certainly do not have these couple of hours, then the only variant is to look for an online therapist.
The visits to specialists should be regular. Many modern men and women have a lot of business to business trips or hate staying at home for a long time. Under these conditions working with a psychotherapist online is an excellent opportunity to ensure the continuity and regularity of therapy.
However, in addition to numerous advantages, online therapy has its disadvantages as well. Having decided to seek the advice of a psychotherapist on Skype and the possible further help of a psychotherapist online, you need to know about them.
Technical problems are always possible. Even in the 21st century, not every person has a reliable Internet provider or an excellent mobile connection. The gadgets should ever be charged. Otherwise, the online connection is impossible. Online psychotherapy requires the therapist to develop methods suitable for working online. Much of body-oriented or art therapy online is not possible. Experiments related to movement and bodily interaction become rather difficult or even impossible.
We should not forget about the mutual responsibility for security and confidentiality. It has to be guaranteed both by a therapist and a client. When the meeting takes place in the psychotherapist’s office, it is the specialist’s responsibility to ensure the absence of people around and that no one can hear the work or interrupt it. In the case of online communicating, it is a patient’s responsibility as well. The client should ensure sound insulation or the absence of other people nearby during the session, as well as the lack of any distractions.
Working online, you may suffer from a lack of tactile contact. The distant therapist cannot give you a napkin or take your hand. However, we cannot but mention that in practice, some psychotherapists, as well as patients, avoid any touches on purpose. Thus, under the condition, these things are essential. You will not like online psychotherapy.
Communicating through the Internet, a psychotherapist may miss something important, for example, the thing that you are tapping nervously with the foot while talking about something special. The changes in breathing, as well as a micromimicry, are not seen as well. However, the lack of those details may slow down the working progress significantly.
Usually, it is necessary to spend more time establishing trust and mutual understanding while you are working online.
As you can see, online psychotherapy has its pros and cons. Both lists are quite substantial. Thus it is only up to the specialist and his or her client to choose the ideal way of their communication, taking into account all the real advantages and disadvantages.