Research suggests online therapy is just as effective as traditional in-person therapy. Sometimes referred to as telehealth or telemedicine;

“Tele” is a Greek word meaning “distance “and “mederi” is a Latin word meaning “to heal”.

Time magazine called telemedicine “healing by wire”.

Etherapy, telehealth, telemental health, telecounselling, eCounselling, distance counselling, distance therapy, internet therapy, online therapy, telepsychology, telemedicine, web therapy, web-based counselling.

Whatever you like to call it, therapy has shifted from the familiar face to face format to an experience of support from wherever and whenever you choose.

Online therapy is defined as the interaction between a consumer and a therapist via the Internet.

Online therapy, also known as telemental health or distance therapy, is the use of technology to meet therapeutic needs of clients in a location different from the mental health professional either synchronously or asynchronously.

Here are 5 reasons we recommend you try online counselling:

  • Easy. Online therapy is as easy as a click of a button.

  • Convenient. You can start changing things in your life, reflecting on ways to improve your emotional and mental well-being, and starting an exciting new chapter in your life from the comfort of home, or wherever you feel safe.

  • Consistent. You need to travel out of town or for vacations? No problem. You can still continue therapy because it is online and you can take your therapist with you where ever you need , or want, to go. That’s useful because, as the big proponent of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Jon Kabat-Zinn, said: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

  • Comfortable. From the comfort of your sofa, in your home office, in your car, wrapped in a blanket, sipping a cup of tea, or out on a walk; you can have therapy wherever you would like to be. We recommend you choose somewhere you will have privacy and that you will be safe and free from distractions and noise.

  • Confidential. Therapy is always confidential except in exceptional circumstances, like if your therapist has reason to believe that you or someone else is at risk of harm. Online therapy is no exception. Secure, online platforms are encrypted and offer you privacy and confidentiality.

Are you ready to start online therapy?

Contrary to popular belief, research shows that online therapy or web-based therapy is as effective as traditional in person talk therapy.

Assessing the effectiveness of online therapy:

We recommend you read some articles so you feel confident about taking the next step.

Andersson, G., & Cuijpers, P. (2009). Internet-based and other computerized psychological treatments for adult depression: A meta-analysis. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 38(4), 196-205. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20183695

Barak, Azy, et al. (2008). A comprehensive review and a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of internet-based psychotherapeutic interventions. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26.2-4: 109-160. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15228830802094429#.VI8vaCvF_hs

Nagel, D. (2011). The future of online therapy. Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, Washington, D.C. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/e561872012-001

Neimark, G. Patients and text messaging: A boundary issue. (2009). The American Journal of Psychiatry. 166(11), 1298-1299. http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09071012

Wantland, D. J., Portillo, C. J., Holzemer, W. L., Slaughter, R., & McGhee, E. M. (2004). The effectiveness of Web-based vs. non-Web-based interventions: a meta-analysis of behavioral change outcomes. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 6(4). http://www.jmir.org/2004/4/e40/

By Leigh Matthews

By Leigh Matthews, Registered Australian Psychologist

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