Psychotherapeutic sessions through the internet : when they do work and when they don’t?

On-line psychotherapy
On-line psychotherapy

During the last years more and more mental health specialists apply long-distance psychotherapeutic sessions. Previously, psychotherapy through a screen of a computer could be considered as something weird, crazy or with no results. However, there are many current studies and positive examples which prove that an on-line psychotherapeutic session could be equally effective with a classic type session. Let’s not forget that mini psychotherapeutic sessions are offered from the so-called telephone help centers where professionals with specific specialization help people who ask immediate emotional support. Of course psychotherapy through the internet is something more and much different from that and that’s why it is often preferred for many and different reasons. Some of them are:

  1. Someone can be in a psychotherapeutic session while he/she is sitting on his/her couch: It is very important someone to feel comfortable during psychotherapy. When someone remains in his/her personal place he/she probably feels that the psychological session would be pleasant and calm because it will take place in a familiar area (and not in an unknown psychotherapist’s office).
  2. Psychotherapist could seem more intimate and less strict through a computer’s screen: Maybe it seems strange but a mental health specialist could seem much more congenial through internet than closely. The contact between a patient/client and a mental health professional is literally a face to face contact. Because of this exclusive way of contact and the absence of any other image/clue regarding psychotherapist’s profession and his/her commercial space a patient/client could more easily think that the mental health specialist in front of his/her camera is just a normal human being like everyone else and there are not many things so different between them. Of course this idea could easily bring good but also bad results!
  3. A patient/client could feel that he/she has more control on the psychotherapeutic procedure: For example suddenly someone could ask to stop a session. The idea of asking from the psychotherapist on your screen to stop for now seems much better and less awkward, than for example a real leaving from a psychotherapist’s office.
  4. An on-line psychotherapeutic session costs less money: The first thing that someone saves when he/she starts on-line psychotherapy is the cost of the transport costs, money and time. Nowadays, it is really important that a patient/client has a chance to save money while in the past he/she had no other option but driving/travelling to a psychotherapist’s office and then back. In addition, let’s not forget that if a mental health professional is invited in someone’s house then the cost of the session is usually higher. But with an on-line session a psychotherapist “comes” in someone’s place without extra costs.
  5. A patient/client is free to choose through the internet with whom he/she will start psychotherapy no matter how many kilometers are between them: If you speak a common language and if you can find a common hour to “meet” for your session, then your psychotherapist can be available for you from the other side of the planet!

However: On-line psychotherapeutic sessions could be considered ideal for some people but naturally they could be also considered useless or even unpleasant for some others. If someone is not completely familiar with computers and the internet, he/she probably would be too stressed with the prospect of a psychotherapy through the internet. So, stress will not be at all helpful during discussion with a mental health specialist. Moreover, if someone has already experienced the traditional type of psychotherapy or he/she has the idea of the classic psychotherapeutic session “stuck” in his/her mind then it will be really difficult for him/her to try a different way of psychotherapy which is also completely unknown to him/her. Thus, the most wise thing for him/her to do is to select the classic form of psychotherapy if that makes him/her feeling in a better way.

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