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Online Mental Health Support VS. Face to Face

Nowadays, there are more and more options of therapy over the Internet with the rise of new and upcoming organisations, championing the mission of receiving online mental health support. While this is an amazing initiative, you’re probably wondering what’s the difference between online counselling and face to face sessions?

While the answer might seem simple, online mental health support will be different for every individual. The right question to ask is what do these web based sessions mean for the client and the therapist? Because of this, Recharge Wellness is giving you the lowdown offering you a guide to help you decide whether to receive online mental health support. 

Before we dive deeper into the core differences between the pair, it’s important to mention that neither is better than the other. They are simply different and some people really benefit from face to face compared to online mental health support and vice versa. Although we’re more familiar with the traditional face to face method, this article will shine light particularly on why so many people are opting for online counselling.

What is Online Mental Health Support?

First things first, what actually is online mental health support? 

Online counselling is the use of therapeutic modalities via web-based platforms such as video conferencing, instant messaging and voice calls. In other words, online mental health support is speaking with a therapist through the Internet. To know a bit more about this, check out the article we wrote about its effectiveness.

People often use online counselling as an effective alternative to traditional therapy if it is no longer serving them for a variety of reasons. As the world we live in continues to change rapidly many people are moving towards a web based approach for most things with online mental health support being included. We are in the digital age and fortunately treatment methods haven’t been forced to remain in the past.

What’s Traditional Therapy?

Traditional therapy method is commonly known as face to face counselling. It’s the way therapy has been done for many years (with great success may we add). It allows the client to come into the clinic or office and have a session with the therapist for an allocated amount of time. Generally with traditional therapy, your contact is limited within those allocated times.

Traditional therapy has been a popular option for many years due to the trust and credibility that is built by being able to meet the therapist face to face. However, off the back of the pandemic, more and more people are appreciating the option of meeting someone through mental health online services.

Core Differences:

 

Effectiveness

A few big questions that people ask a lot when comparing face to face with mental help online is: 

“How effective will this be?”,

“Will I be able to connect with the psychologist?”,

and 

“Do video sessions even work?” 

To simply answer all these questions, online mental health support is effective and can help you on your journey to achieving better self care. 

The Journal of Clinical Psychology wrote an article about the effectiveness of online mental health support and some of the results found were fascinating. 80% of people reported that web based platforms to be more effective than traditional therapy and 98% found it to be more convenient. That’s a really key point to mention. As online mental health support is highly accessible, this is why people find this to be so much more successful than traditional therapy.

Convenience

People often subscribe to the option that makes the most sense. Traditional therapy forces people to play by their rules because of the time and location restrictions. As we’ve seen with the pandemic, having people’s treatment based on whether you can open your building or not is problematic.

Online mental health support offers a far more frictionless option where the client can book in with more times (not limited to office opening hours) and can take the call wherever they want. We found from speaking with our thousands of clients that having online mental health options have made all the difference in them actually engaging with therapy long term.

More options

Face to face therapy is great for human connection and having the option to truly get to know your psychologist. However, the psychologist on offer is only limited to the pool of people within the local area. Meaning, traditional therapy can only offer you the best of that local area.

This differs greatly from mental health online services because the psychologists can work from anywhere in Australia, so they can offer the best psychologist for the client in the country. Not just the local area. This is really important for helping the client find the right psychologist – there is more options to choose from. 

Getting linked up with the right psychologist from the start is pivotal for success as it allows the client to build trust with them. The trust built will encourage the client to continue engaging with therapy.

Affordable

The hefty cost associated with seeing a therapist face to face is because of the excessive overheads that the organisation has to pay such as rent, insurances, utilities, etc. These costs unfortunately get passed on to the client making it quite costly for the average person. The Australian Psychology Society recommends the price to see a registered psychologist should be set at $250 (approx. $162 out of pocket with Medicare), whereas an online mental health support organisation such as Recharge Wellness may only charge you $180 (approx. $92 out of pocket with Medicare).

These savings allow the client to further engage in therapy. We found that a leading cause for our clients to stop engaging in therapy is cost. Traditional therapy is bound by its obligation and subsequently reflects that on the client.

Less stigma/ More Confidentiality

Although we wish we lived in a world where stigma and prejudice didn’t exist, unfortunately that isn’t the case. In a local community being seen walking into a psychologist clinic or in the waiting room may spark unwanted rumours. This may become detrimental to the client’s mental health. 

The confidentiality of being able to take a therapy session from the comfort of your home or any other safe place is invaluable. This gives the client confidence that their privacy is protected at all times of the process.

So, what’s next?

Hopefully this article has provided you with the insight needed to effectively make the decision between face to face and online mental health support. This article is general and each reader should keep in mind that everyone’s experiences are different. So, if you want more insight into what’s best for you click the link below to speak with one of our team members today.

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