Whether a client is new to therapy or just etherapy in particular, it’s natural to wonder how the process works over the internet. Just like with any other clinical practice, therapists that work over the internet are fully licensed and trained to respect client confidentiality at all times. Any reputable online therapist will also take extra steps to ensure client’s information is protected, since the sessions are happening over the internet. This will ideally include using a specialized app or otherwise secure communication gateway to protect sensitive information from being exposed to third parties.
As for the psychotherapy itself, the only difference is the method of delivery. The e-therapist is required by law to have the exact same type of licensure as a “traditional” face-to-face therapist. Just like with office therapy, over-the-internet sessions will be tailored by the clinician to best fit the particular needs of the client. This can include the type of psychotherapy involved, such as Cognitive-Behavioral, Dialectical-Behavioral, psychodynamic methodologies, etc. In some cases, the therapist may decide to incorporate various styles of teaching methods to help clients build the knowledge necessary to use new tools or coping skills. Regardless of how it is delivered and what type of psychotherapy is used in particular, the basic therapeutic process and goals are the same: to help clients identify unhealthy patterns of thinking and communication, cope with painful events, and discover new, constructive ways to deal with life’s challenges.
One advantage psychotherapy over the internet has is greater flexibility in regards to convenience, scheduling, and overall time required per session. While the time with the therapist will be the same as during a traditional office visit, e-therapy has the added advantage of saving clients the physical commute to the therapist’s practice. This can also make couples counseling easier in particular, since there is less coordination required for both parties. In the case of families, this can also help parents avoid having to find childcare during sessions, since they are happening from the comfort of home—something that can be helpful financially, too. Eliminating these kinds of barriers can also eliminate some of the excuses people may use to not seek help. At the end of the day, the convenience offered by therapy over the internet can be a game-changer, especially for potential clients who are undecided about psychotherapy as a whole. If therapy over the internet is faster, simple-to-use, and cost-effective, then why not give it a try?