Online therapy has become quite popular, and for some good reasons. It’s a more affordable, more portable option, and because of improving technology, you can talk to your therapist anywhere. This allows you to be able to make updates, get help in any situation, and be able to have a video conversation with your therapist, rather than traveling to their office. Although a video conversation is still remote, this capability can help your online therapist understand you more, thanks to body language.
There are many types of online therapy, some of which will be discussed here.
Email therapy involves communication through—you guessed it—email. While email conversations aren’t usually an instant back-and-forth, email does allow a therapist to form a cogent response to their client’s problem, and the client can do the same when expressing their problems.
Email doesn’t have the face-to-face conversation abilities, and sometimes, it’s hard to read emotions through words. However, email is useful when it comes to writing a response and archiving it. Emails are easy to archive, and you can access the advice whenever needed in the future.
Chat therapy involves using a chatroom to communicate to your therapist. It’s similar to email, but the therapist is readily available and ready to talk. The instant access to a therapist makes it better than email if you need to talk to a therapist right away, but there are some disadvantages. Some chat rooms don’t save your messages. Not only that, but because a response is expected instantly, the therapist and the client may feel rushed to write, and they may not be able to express their points as eloquently as they could through email. However, if you need to talk to someone immediately in the moment, it’s a good option.
Communication through text has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s good for people who may have trouble talking to people, or feel more comfortable talking through text first. While there is no voice to listen for inflections, or body language that can be seen, an online therapist can still make it work if enough information is provided.
Through the phone or another voice-communication application (e.g., Google Voice), you can speak to your therapist. Voice chat has advantages over text in a few regards. The tone of your voice can tell a lot about you, and a therapist is trained to pick up on just that, among many other things. Listening to your therapist makes it feel more personal than just talking through text. With that said, voice chat still lacks a face-to-face conversation, and can be more difficult to archive.
Video chat services such as Skype allow for voice chat, as well as video. This makes the conversation even more personable. While it’s not the perfect substitute for an in-person session, it comes close. Looking at your therapist as they talk may make their words have more of an impact. Meanwhile, your therapist can read your body language, and this can help them learn some habits that you may not have even noticed.
Like voice chat, video chat has a few disadvantages. It is harder to archive, and the problem with video chat is that it requires a strong internet connection. Service lags can ruin the conversation, so it’s best that you talk to them when there is a good connection.
These are just some ways a therapist can communicate with you. Sometimes, they may incorporate meeting in-person as well. Online therapy has advantages over in-person therapy, such as convenience, cost, and making it easier for those who cannot communicate through speech. Despite some of the disadvantages, online communication is always improving, and online therapy has increased in popularity, especially in the new digital age we are in. If you are considering therapy, it’s definitely worth a try.