Deciding to engage in therapy is an important step towards improving your mental health and well-being. Whether it is your first time starting therapy or you have participated in in person or online therapy before, it is natural to have questions about where to start and what type of therapy might be best for you to get the most our of your mental health support.
In today’s world, there are many options available, including both traditional in person therapy and online therapy (also referred to as teletherapy or telehealth therapy). While both options can be effective, they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to find a mental health care provider who you feel comfortable with and who can meet your individual needs.
If you are looking for flexible, personalized talk therapy, you are in the right place. At Geode Health, our providers offer both traditional therapy (in-person) and online therapy to make sure our patients can find help that meets them exactly where they are. Get started by finding a provider near you!
Pros & Cons of Online Therapy
Online therapy involves receiving mental health care services through video conferencing or other online platforms. Virtual therapy has become increasingly popular in recent years, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Advantages of Online Therapy
- Convenience: With online therapy, you can receive mental health care from the comfort of your own home or anywhere with an internet connection vs having to drive to a therapist’s office. This eliminates the need for travel and saves time, making it easier to fit therapy into your busy schedule.
- Accessibility: Online therapy eliminates the barriers of physical location, making it possible to access mental health care from anywhere in the world. This is especially beneficial for those living in rural or remote areas, where mental health services may be limited or unavailable.
- Flexibility: Many online therapy platforms offer flexible scheduling options, including evening and weekend appointments, making it easier to schedule therapy around work, school, or other commitments.
- Anonymity: Online therapy offers a degree of anonymity that may be appealing to those who are uncomfortable with in-person therapy. With some forms of online therapy, you can choose to remain anonymous, which can help some people reduce feelings of anxiety associated with starting therapy.
- Comfort: For some people, being in their own environment can make them feel more comfortable and open during a virtual session, which can improve the therapeutic relationship and overall treatment outcome.
Disadvantages of Online Therapy
- Technical difficulties: Online therapy relies on a stable internet connection and functioning technology, which can sometimes be unreliable. Technical difficulties can be frustrating and disruptive to online counseling or therapy sessions.
- Limited nonverbal communication: Nonverbal communication, such as body language, can be important in therapy. In online therapy, nonverbal cues may be more difficult to perceive, which may impact the therapeutic process.
- Distractions: Being at home or in a non-clinical environment can increase the likelihood of distractions arising during online therapy sessions, making it more difficult to focus on therapy.
- Potential to feel less personal: For some people, online therapy sessions may feel less personal than in person therapy, which can make it difficult to build a strong therapeutic relationship with their provider. This makes it even more important to find a provider that you connect with and trust.
Pros & Cons of In-Person Therapy
In-person therapy involves meeting with a mental health care provider face-to-face in an office or other physical location. In-person therapy has been the traditional method of talk therapy for many years and has a number of benefits.
Advantages of In-Person Therapy
- Personal connection: In person therapy allows for a face-to-face connection with your licensed therapist, which can help build trust and a stronger therapeutic relationship.
- Nonverbal communication: In-person therapy allows for better use of nonverbal communication, such as body language and facial expressions, which can enhance the therapeutic process.
- Dedicated environment: In-person therapy typically takes place in a designated office space, which can provide a sense of safety and ensure confidentiality. Being in a specific physical location can also help you get in the right headspace to experience a therapy session.
- Focus: Your licensed therapist’s office is designed to be free from distractions and to help you focus on the therapeutic process. You will not have to worry about connectivity issues, distracting pets or family, or any other elements that might interrupt you at home or elsewhere.
Disadvantages of In-Person Therapy
- Travel considerations: In-person therapy may require travel time and expenses, which can make it difficult for some people to attend regular sessions. An online therapy session is much easier to accomodate in today’s busy world.
- Scheduling constraints: In-person therapy sessions require both the patient and provider to be physically present at the same time, which may present more of a scheduling challenge.
- Perceived stigma: Some individuals may feel uncomfortable going to a therapist’s office due to the perceived stigma around seeking mental health treatment.
- Accessibility: For individuals who have limited mobility or live in an area without many mental health care options, going to therapy online can be much more feasible than finding an in-person provider.
Should You Go to Therapy Online or In-Person?
While both online and in-person psychotherapy have pros and cons, keep in mind that your experience with any type of mental health care will be dependent upon your situation, your provider, and many other factors.
If you are looking for a convenient, accessible option, a virtual session may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you prioritize face-to-face interaction, nonverbal communication, and a traditional format, in person therapy may be the better option. Both therapy formats can allow you to build a therapeutic relationship with your provider and improve your mental health and well-being.
At Geode Health, we offer both online and in-person therapy options to ensure that our patients receive the care they need in a way that works for them. Plus, we are rapidly expanding our provider network to make sure that our psychotherapy services are available in communities across the country. Get started by finding a provider near you!