For individuals interested in online therapy, there are only a few concerns specific to online therapy; most of what should go into the decision applies to regular therapy too.
When deciding if online therapy is right, it may be useful to consider how comfortable with using technology to communicate the interested person is. While the tools used by e-therapists are generally simple, secure, and easy-to-use, some people just aren’t comfortable either with the technology itself, or the idea of communicating remotely. There are people who don’t even like talking over the phone, or who have never used video chat to communicate. Although e-therapy is generally understood to be as effective as face-to-face therapy, there will always be some people who are inherently uncomfortable with the format. Interestingly, younger generations have expressed that they may be more likely to want to communicate via live chat than face-to-face, illustrating a wide generational shift in comfort with using these kinds of technologies for important conversations.
The bigger questions to consider before trying out e-therapy would apply to anyone seeking therapy in general. If possible, identify some main goals or primary problems that can be addressed by a professional counselor as a therapeutic goal. Examples would include struggling to cope with PTSD symptoms, learning new ways to live with anxiety, or working on becoming a better communicator with a spouse. That’s not to say that there must be a therapeutic goal, however. If the central issue is murky, that doesn’t mean you aren’t ready for therapy, just that it may take more time to get to the root of the problem. Next, to make sure that the therapy is as useful as possible, make sure you’re ready to discuss the issue(s) as openly and honestly as possible. Dishonesty fundamentally interferes with the therapeutic process, and being unwilling or unable to start working on changes will make the process more difficult.
On the other hand, you may be ready for therapy if you’re tired of living a certain way, if symptoms of an issue like depression have begun to interfere with other areas of life like work or home life, if your marriage is having problems, or if you simply feel ready to grow as a person. Those who are either struggling with substance abuse or are already sober may also find tremendous value in the support and insight of a professional.
E-therapy may be especially attractive for people with busy schedules, limited mobility or transportation, or those who have already tried to find a face-to-face therapist only to discover there isn’t one nearby who is taking new clients. For people looking for greater access to therapists for the same (or less) than the hourly rate traditionally charged by brick-and-mortar practices, e-therapy is also a great option. Finally, it is also a great choice for people who may simply want the convenience and privacy of being able to do counseling sessions from the comfort of his or her own home for whatever reason.