Mental health counseling allows individuals to fight self-defeating behavior and learn how to handle issues like anxiety and depression. Telemental health enables you to seek counseling more conveniently from the comfort and privacy of your home. Here are the pros and cons of this form of counseling:
Pros of Telemental Health
Telemental health, or teletherapy, offers the following benefits:
Rural residents may lack access to mental care because of their geographical locations. Some areas have limited mental health professionals, forcing clients to wait weeks or months for appointments. Telemental health benefits these clients by giving them access to therapists beyond their physical locations. This way, they don’t have to put off their mental health for too long.
Teletherapy also allows people with physical disabilities and older adults to seek counseling without needing to leave the comfort of their homes. This may increase their willingness to seek mental health care.
Some people forego therapy because of a lack of time. Traditional sessions can be time-consuming as they require you to plan your commute time to and from your therapist’s office and the session. Teletherapy is convenient as it eliminates the need for commuting. This means you only need to plan for your actual session in your schedule.
It also provides flexibility in scheduling sessions, as you can choose time slots that suit your needs. You can have sessions during your lunch break as you don’t have to worry about travel time. This convenience makes mental health services more accessible to people with busy schedules or responsibilities that may otherwise prevent them from seeking therapy.
Teletherapy allows people in environments with mental health stigma to seek help. With telemental health, everything occurs online, so people around you never have to know you’re seeking therapy if you don’t want them to. Teletherapy also offers a level of anonymity from your therapist since sessions are conducted remotely. This may help you feel more comfortable and reduce the fear of being judged, allowing you to open up and be more engaging. The more open you are, the better your chances of success in therapy.
It’s normal to experience low moments, especially when battling conditions like PTSD and depression. Physically reaching a therapist during mental health crises can be challenging, especially if they’re far from you. Teletherapy allows clients to connect with their therapists in real time using digital platforms. This can make a huge difference for people experiencing urgent mental health concerns like suicidal thoughts and acute distress.
Teletherapy can be a cost-effective option for someone looking to reduce therapy costs. It eliminates commuting costs like gas expenses or public transportation costs. Teletherapy also reduces the overhead costs of running a physical office. Therapists specializing in telemental health can operate in a smaller space than they would in typical in-person settings, as they don’t need to create room for patients. Some may extend the low-cost benefit to their clients through low rates.
Cons of Teletherapy
While teletherapy is undoubtedly beneficial, it presents some challenges for clients and therapists. Here are some cons:
Teletherapy relies primarily on technology as it facilitates remote access to treatment. Some people experience poor internet connectivity, causing audio or video glitches during therapy. Other people may not know how to navigate teletherapy platforms, and others may have devices that are incompatible with their therapists’ platforms. These problems can cause disruptions, compromising the quality of their sessions. To prevent this, make sure you have a stable internet connection before your sessions.
Familiarize yourself with your therapist’s platform beforehand to make engaging during your sessions easy. If your devices aren’t compatible with your therapist’s platform, let them know early to allow them to make alternative arrangements.
Limited Non-verbal Cues
Therapists rely on more than just verbal communication to understand and interpret clients’ emotions. Many also pay attention to non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language. This can be challenging in teletherapy, especially when using communication techniques like instant messaging and emails, as one can’t decipher non-verbal cues from written text.
Your therapist may recommend combining these communication tools with video conferencing. Video conferencing can mimic the feel of an in-person session as it allows your therapist to see you and vice versa.
The Pros of Telemental Health Outweigh the Cons
Some people may be on the fence about telemental health because they don’t fully understand it. It’s a form of treatment that involves providing mental health services online. The services may be offered via phone, email, text message, or video conference. While it presents cons like technological limitations, its benefits are too many to ignore. Seek help via telemental health today.