The coronavirus has resulted in excessive stress, anxiety and fear among society and these are critical emotional triggers has further worsened people’s emotional health, leading to a rise in mental health issues, relationship problems, suicidal tendencies and more.
On the other hand, due to the current pandemic that demands social distancing has resulted in in-person sessions in all professional healthcare industry – extremely risky for both the healthcare professionals and for the clients.
Question: Then how the leading professional healthcare institutions are meeting the rising demand for effective therapy?
The answer is adopting the digitalization of counselling sessions. Talking on this issue, India’s leading relationship expert and marriage counsellor, Shivani Misri Sadhoo shares, “resuming normal life is incredibly appealing, especially for psychotherapy. But mid-pandemic in-person psychotherapy may not be such a good solution, especially when people have options and access to video conferences through their mobile and laptops.”
Counselor Shivani adds, “for almost everyone today, video or audio-based telehealth has become a better choice than meeting in-person behind masks, screens, face shields, disinfectants, physical distance, ventilation, symptom monitoring, contact tracing, etc.”
Question: is online counselling are as good as in-person counselling?
A decade back, online video interactions were not effective, when internet speed was largely poor, therapy has often been disdainful of telehealth, opposed to “warm” psychotherapy work performed via a “cold” screen. Its resistance to the concept has changed little over the years.
A recent scientific study was done by the American Psychiatric Association (https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201100206) suggests that online therapy today works just as well as traditional face-to-face therapy. Studies, looking at outcomes for clients and the quality of their relationships with therapists, found them equal across telehealth and in-person conditions. Since this meta-analysis (92 studies and 9,000 clients), many other studies have confirmed the value of teletherapy.
The study further states that today’s clients are receptive to telehealth counselling, because it involves no driving to an appointment, no searching for a parking space, no worries about childcare while they’re away, no need to switch providers if they move, and no problem if the specialist happens to be far away.
The second biggest advantage that online counselling holds over in-person counselling is that online therapy opens the door for clients who are located in geographically in different places, cities, countries and would find extremely difficult to travel a long distance to attain counselling sessions.