What image first comes to mind when you think about therapy? Is it a dimly lit office space or lying on a comfortable couch sharing your darkest secrets? That image is very real- but the landscape of therapy has undoubtedly changed! Until a few years ago, most clients hadn’t considered online therapy as a viable mental health option. When the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged, many therapists in Washington State- and throughout the rest of the world- quickly pivoted to telehealth to support their clients safely.
And what did we find? Online therapy can be just as beneficial as in-person therapy, and it may be even more helpful for treating certain situations or mental health issues. If you’re on the fence about online therapy services, here are some valuable benefits to consider.
Benefits of Online Therapy in Seattle, WA & Washington State
While online therapy was once seen as a mere substitute for conventional, face-to-face therapy, both therapists and clients alike now recognize its undeniable virtues. Today, online mental health services aren’t just considered a ‘good enough’ alternative. It’s a treatment approach in and of itself, and many clients prefer it when accessing therapy.
Traditional, in-person therapy has obvious geographical limitations. Nobody wants to drive a long time or sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic just to meet with the right mental health professional. When you are at the mercy of a therapist’s physical office space, you’re typically stuck with whichever therapists work in your targeted radius.
Online therapy has expanded this targeted reach significantly. If you reside in Washington, you can work with any therapist licensed to work in Washington state! No car or gas is necessary.
This benefit is invaluable. Clients now have increased options for specialized care. Whether you want a mental health professional skilled in couples therapy, trauma, or EMDR, there’s a good chance there’s an online therapist who offers what you need.
Online therapy allows you to meet with your therapist from the comfort of your own home. No need to worry about a long commute to your therapist’s office – all you need is a reliable internet connection.
Less Emotional Discomfort
Therapy sessions can feel intimidating, particularly for people experiencing certain mental health conditions. Social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or other phobias, can make accessing therapy seem daunting.
These emotional variables may prevent you from seeking the support you need. While online therapy isn’t any less vulnerable than traditional talk therapy, some clients report feeling more comfortable sharing their emotions virtually.
Safety and Comfort First
Although the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic may be behind us, this grueling time reminded us all of the undeniable importance of looking after our physical health. In addition, immunocompromised individuals may still feel safer meeting remotely.
Discreet Therapy Sessions
All therapy is legally confidential, but there are some extraneous factors to consider when meeting for a traditional therapy session. Other people may, for example, see you in a communal waiting room. They might recognize your car in the parking lot.
Some clients don’t or can’t risk others knowing they are receiving therapy. If this applies to you, online services tend to be more discreet than in-person work.
At one point, both therapists and clients voiced concerns about the legitimacy of online services. Could video sessions actually compare to the benefits of traditional therapy? Would online therapists miss important nuances like body language or facial expressions over a computer screen?
As it turns out, research shows that online therapy absolutely works. A recent meta-analysis with 17 studies found that online cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, was just as effective in treating depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and panic disorder. Similar results have been found in attachment-based and psychodynamic online therapy services.
Strong Therapeutic Rapport
Building a strong therapeutic alliance is just as crucial in online therapy as it is in face-to-face treatment. That said, many clients report that they find it easier (and faster) to build that crucial connection virtually.
The right online therapist is still skilled in essential counseling techniques, including active listening, validation, gentle confrontation, and unconditional positive regard. If you don’t feel comfortable with your provider, consider sharing your concerns with them. You deserve mental health care that feels both supportive and effective.
Who Benefits From Online Therapy?
Whether you’re a first-time client or have worked with mental health providers in the past, most people can benefit from online therapy. The following demographics tend to fare well with online treatment:
- Working professionals
- College students
- New and busy parents
- Clients living in remote areas
- Clients who lack reliable transportation
Is Virtual Therapy Effective For Everyone in Washington?
While online therapy can be advantageous, it does have its limitations. Online therapy may not be effective for the following individuals:
Acute crisis support: If you feel suicidal or struggle with recurrent self-harm, it’s important to seek immediate support. In many cases, you will need a higher level of care than online therapy can provide.
Severe substance abuse: If you are actively abusing substances or withdrawing from their effects, you may need medical attention. You will also benefit from achieving initial stabilization before seeking outpatient therapy.
Psychosis: Active psychosis often requires medical attention and stabilization. If you are concerned about the presence of hallucinations or delusions, consider reaching out to your primary care physician.
Personal preference: Some clients prefer the format of in-person therapy. That’s perfectly reasonable! The best therapy is the one that feels safe and effective for you!
Start Online Therapy In Seattle, WA, and Coaching Across The US
My practice is fully remote, and I help clients experiencing depression, anxiety disorders, and significant life transitions. I also have a specialized focus on the LGBTQIA2+ population. Finally, I offer online EMDR therapy sessions for clients recovering from trauma.
As a certified life coach, I offer signature coaching packages for clients living anywhere in the United States.
Whether you’re interested in therapy or coaching, I would be honored to help you live a more meaningful, authentic life. Connect with me today to learn more about me and schedule your initial consultation! Please feel free to visit my blog for more helpful information today!