What is Online Therapy?

Today, online therapy is fully recognised by research as being an important part of the future of therapy and with new advancements in technology our potential grows to richen and enliven how we can attend and respond to ourselves in our therapy hour.

Online therapy is simply the use of interface technology (such as your phone, laptop or computer) to conduct a therapeutic session. Rather than sitting across from each other face-to-face in close physical proximity, the sessions are conducted with us both being on-screen in an environment and location of your choice.

Online therapy (or teletherapy) although having a new found resurgence and popularity since the onset of the global CO-VID pandemic, is not a new phenomenon. As far back as Sigmund Freud, who sent letters to support contact with some clients at the start of the last century, we have used novel and effective ways to stay ‘virtually’ connected during the therapy hour. As early as 1986, in the earliest seedlings of the internet revolution, advice and mutual comradery was offered through naturally occurring online mental health chat forums. In the U.S, Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD have traditionally used teletherapy as a means to stay connected within their community and participate in group support. Today, online therapy is fully recognised by research as being an important part of the future of therapy and with new advancements in technology our potential grows to richen and enliven how we can attend and respond to ourselves in our therapy hour.

Before you make the decision to invest your valuable time and money to commit to online psychotherapy it is important to address and dispel any lingering myths and misconceptions you might have about going online.

online therapy, psychotherapy

Online Therapy: The cold hard (…and reassuring) facts

If you would like to explore the benefits of online therapy for you, I offer a free 30 minute online consultation – email jasoncowell.counsellor@gmail.com

The area of online therapy is bursting with up-to-date academic research and on the ground testimonials from those that have been in face-to-face and online therapy. Needless to say, the overwhelming consensus is online therapy is equally successful as face-to-face therapy and is, in fact, better for some populations with specific needs (See below). “What we’ve seen is that telehealth is as effective as face-to-face psychotherapy, and retention rates are higher” – David Mohr, PHD (Director for Intervention Technologies at North-Western University’s School of Medicine) who has spent his career studying telepsychology and digital mental health.

The good news is that your capacity to attune to yourself and with your therapist is not impacted by teletherapy. I am happy to authenticate that all the potency of your rich and precious feelings and our honourable intentions together can be mutually felt, resonated with and held in their full experience, irrespective of our geographical location. There is no diluting of the process or progress of being together in this way and the vast majority of those I sit with report that, given the choice, they would not go back to face-to-face work. Feel reassured then in knowing that no issue or method of working therapeutically with you is diminished by working in this way and in most cases, it is being enhanced, giving you more choice, freedom and safety in those most fragile moments we share together.

Online therapy can often support you to be more yourself (your self) as you are empowered to choose your own space within your world, be that, for example, in your own home or outdoors in nature. Once your confidentiality and privacy needs are respected, you are encouraged to tune into and experiment with what feels right, and allow for the flexibility to meet your present mood or emotional capacity on any given day or moment. Why sit on a therapist’s chair when you can sit on your favourite couch with your cat on your lap or walk around your own garden or maybe walk barefoot on a quiet beach? It’s the small things like having a cup of tea in your own mug in your hand that can make a session that might have centred around helping you stay safe, become one where you feel comfortable enough to address a sensitive issue more squarely and have a break-through moment. This freedom to connect to and choose your therapy setting means you are an active participant in listening and responding with kindness towards yourself – how can that be anything but right.

Simply having a set of responsive bluetooth earpuds now means we can move freely without risking interference to the sound of your voice, ensuring even the faintest whisper is appreciated. Using a modern earpiece also eliminates the hassle of wires whilst also offering the opportunity to momentarily stepping away from the screen at times when we wish to connect more deeply to our environment or bring movement/ mat work into our explorations spontaneously.

Teletherapy offers Increased accessibility, flexibility and convenience for you. Whether you have a busy schedule, have limited mobility or are ill, a lack of transportation or live in an isolated rural area. It means you don’t need to commute to a set destination to receive support as it is merely a click of a button away. This is especially true if life throws you a curveball or a sudden crisis and you need a more immediate session to help settle the impact of the experience.

There are different ways in how specifically you and your therapist choose what best suits your needs and comfort – This can be a more nuanced and graded space where subtle options can be offered, for example, conducting therapy through audio only for a period of time might be an option for someone with social anxiety and new to therapy. Availing of online therapy means you can be met in an environment that prioritizes and respects your range of inner safety in a way meeting face-to-face can struggle to capture.

Online Therapy with Jason Cowell

Jason Cowell, Counsellor and Psychotherapist

The costs of therapy are reduced, not only financially in petrol and parking costs when getting to and from sessions or childcare costs, but also your valuable time which is taken through travelling from your home or work. Online therapy fits more seamlessly with your life and schedule and thus it adds to, rather than takes from, your vital life energy – giving you a greater chance of benefitting from each time we meet. When you are met where you are without interruption, then we can more readily offer support to the real challenges in your day rather than having to help you recover from the ordeal of simply getting to the session.

Finally, there are naturally some prerequisites before initiating this form of therapy, most notably, that a secure, strong internet connection is available and that you have access to at least one safe and comfortable space in your life. This form of therapy is also not recommended for some of the more complex mental health challenges, which would benefit from regular face to face contact.

If you would be curious about discussing your own needs or want to find out more about how we might work together and feel that online therapy could be a good fit for you, why not schedule a free 30 minute online consultation with me – email jasoncowell.counsellor@gmail.com

Jason Cowell