As technology progresses, doctors and therapists are beginning to see patients via the internet. Utilizing other medical services, physicians are remotely diagnosing and prescribing treatments to patients. Likewise, therapists have also begun counseling clients using email, group webinars, and text messaging.
While this type of web therapy may seem like a convenient idea, there are several reasons you should continue seeing your therapist in-office.
1. Finding Quality Services
Trying to find a high-quality, licensed, therapist through a smartphone app is probably the most difficult avenue for finding services. How do you verify the experience or qualifications of someone you’ve never met?
These counselors could be anywhere in the world. Even if they are licensed, it does not mean they are licensed in your state or any other in the country.
If you find yourself in-office counseling services and your therapist has found text messages as a helpful tool for reminders and quick check-ins, then by all means you should utilize this technology.
The point is, seeing a real, live, person in an established office in your hometown is really the only way to verify their qualifications.
2. Valuable Cues
Therapists use more than words to develop treatment plans for their clients. Not only would an online therapist fail to see drooping shoulders in a text message or email, but they would not hear the erms, um, and oh’s, that may accompany responses.
These forms of communication allow clients to edit their replies and this can be misleading.
There is a lack of pressure and clients have ample time to think about what they will say so their responses are less organic which can create problems for counselors.
In an office, a therapist will see the body language and verbal pauses you use when confronted with certain questions or topics which allows him or her to assess you and treat you in the best way possible.
3. Client Confidentiality
How often do we hear that some social media site or app has been hacked and users’ confidential payment information has been compromised.
Anyone can create and release an app, but by no means does this mean they are interested in protecting your private information.
Online counseling service websites may not be secure which can expose your deepest issues to the public.
Contrarily, in-office therapy sessions are completely confidential, aside from a few exceptions, and you can be assured that a truly qualified and licensed therapist will be HIPAA-compliant in every case.
4. Insurance Coverage
The use of web-connected counseling services is a fairly new concept. There hasn’t even been enough time to fully research these types of services. For this reason, health insurance companies are not yet covering online counseling for their policyholders.
Smartphone apps are certainly not being paid for by insurance companies and while these apps seem affordable, you really must weigh that reduced price against the quality of services you are receiving.
On the other hand, insurance companies have been covering mental health and substance abuse disorders for many years. Patients may have a small co-pay for each office visit and filled prescription, but these costs are greatly reduced when compared to paying cash.
Plus, you can be sure that you are getting the quality services that are being paid for by you and your insurance company.
Yes, is some cases, the ability to see a qualified therapist via the internet may be best. Someone may be disabled or live a long distance from their provider. However, these are special circumstances. Anyone that is able should still try to see their therapist, live and in person, in order to experience the best results.