There has been a lot of debate between online and traditional therapy. Yes, online therapy is relatively new but its effectiveness is not to be discounted. Also, it does not aim to replace traditional therapy at all.
With today’s technology, the possibilities are endless and often come with a click of a button. Both mental healthcare providers and therapy clients may find online therapy beneficial. However, going through the benefits and setbacks of online vs traditional therapy is suitable to decide which route you will take.
Advantages of Online Therapy for Clients
It is less expensive. Online therapy costs about $60 to $90 a week. It depends on the provider and the manner of communication that you choose. Compared to traditional therapy which costs about $75 to $150 per session.
Availability of the therapist. With online therapy, you won’t need a week to wait for a session. You can simply contact your therapist with a text or chat message and you can even communicate throughout the day.
It is very convenient. Your sessions need not be scheduled. As mentioned above, sending your therapist a text is enough to get the mental healthcare you need. Plus, since you’re communicating online, you don’t need to go to an office which there is no added hassle of commuting.
You can express your feelings through additional media. If talking is not enough for you, online therapy allows you to send pictures, videos, emojis, audio clips, etc.
Confidentiality. Some online therapists do not require any identification from their clients. An email and mode of payment is enough. This is perfect for clients who are concerned about the stigma that is associated with going to therapy.
Disadvantages of Online Therapy and Advantages of Traditional Therapy for Clients
Face-to-face interaction. Some clients prefer actual human contact which online therapy can not provide. Basically, it is a matter of preference as some clients find solace and comfort in establishing a therapy schedule.
For severe mental health conditions, online therapy is not enough. For cases such as schizophrenia or people with severe suicidal tendencies, they may need face-to-face therapy and be confined in facilities so as not to be a danger to themselves or others.
Some methods of therapy can not be done online. These methods, such as animal-assisted therapy and drama therapy, are best-done face-to-face. It would be hard or maybe even impossible to do online.
Disadvantages of Traditional Therapy for Clients
It is more expensive. As stated above, traditional therapy costs about $75 to $150 for a 45 to 60-minute session. Some would even go as high as $200, especially if your insurance does not cover therapy and you would pay out of your own pocket.
The wait time to start therapy could be long. Looking for an office-based therapist can be tedious. Some therapists may already be fully booked for a couple of months.
Advantages of Online Therapy for Therapists
It is an income supplement. For therapists who don’t have a full caseload, online therapy can be a great way to help other clients while still earning money as it does not take up a whole lot of time just catering to one client.
You can learn new skills while building your career. There are a lot of online ABA programs that you can find like AppliedBehaviorAnalysisEdu.org where online therapists can hone their skills and become better online therapists. These programs offer courses and help them earn credentials such as the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). These online ABA programs can provide new opportunities for career growth.
Ease of finding new clients. Online therapy networks can provide therapists with new clients. Depending on their caseload, therapists can decide whether to take on these new clients.
Disadvantages of Online Therapy for Therapists
Not as much income as traditional therapy. Most therapists do not use online therapy as their main source of income as it pays lower than traditional therapy so it becomes more of an income supplement.
Advantages of Traditional Therapy for Therapists – High income. Clients pay more for traditional therapy.
Disadvantages of Traditional Therapy for Therapists – More costs. Since traditional therapists need space to do their job, renting an office can be expensive. This is one of the reasons why traditional therapy costs higher than online therapy.
From a client’s standpoint, it is a matter of preference. It is up to you to weigh in these pros and cons to find the perfect fit. You need to choose the route that you will feel the most comfortable with. After all, this will be a person you bear your soul to.