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  • Writer's pictureKristen Pagulayan

Is Online Therapy Effective? Yes, and here's why

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

I’m a recent convert to the whole idea of online therapy. I like the comfort of something that I know, the ease that comes with something familiar, like traditional in person therapy. But I also know that real growth happens in the unknown, so I decided to jump in.

Technology has brought infinite possibilities into our lives. It brings with it the possibility for so much more connection and knowledge. I can consult google for almost anything and have the information in an instant.

As our medical care becomes increasingly dependent on this technology. It leaves many of us asking what will happen now? It leaves us with so many unknowns. For me personally, I have grown concern that we would lose that personal connection and touch that we long for in the provider/patient relationship. Is it necessary to be in person to find that?

A study conducted by Psychiatric Services found that serious psychological distress (SPD)—a term to describe feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and restlessness that are hazardous enough to impair physical well being, has been on the rise. As the need for mental health services increases, the availability of resources seem to decline. The CDC conducted a study in which they found that access to healthcare services have deteriorated for people with high levels of psychological distress. Read more here.

Access is especially difficult in rural areas, which are often the hardest hit with issues of mental health and addiction. Jennifer Faye, the current Communications Director at Farm Aid, says: “We are hearing from farmers who are in dire straits…. We have the reality that there's a lack of mental health services in rural America." The number of calls for help at Farm Aid, including calls by farmers considering suicide, have increased by 30%. Read more here.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently said that suicide is on the rise in the U.S. among almost every age group, and suicide is now a leading cause of death in the U.S. Suicide rates have spiked more than 30 percent in half of the states across the country since 1999.

The age group that’s most affected by psychological distress has also changed. Middle-age adults were not previously considered at high risk for mental illness and suicide, but now they are. Read more here

It is not just those of us living in rural areas that struggle to access mental health care. There can be so many barriers for any of us. It’s finding the time in our busy schedules, having physical limitations, fear, or shame just to name a few.

In Peter Levines’ book, “Healing Trauma” he emphasizes the importance of being in the presence of another person while performing the exercises described. Why? Because others stabilize us, they help us find our rhythm. This is the gift of therapy. It is the ability to be in the presence of a qualified professional to work through the exercises and regain our rhythm. How many of us consult Google way more than any of us would like to admit. It can be information overload and in 5 minutes I’ve just gone down a dark path of self-diagnosis. An internet search cannot provide the rhythm that we find in the presence of others. It is the art of personal connection that helps us to heal our deepest wounds.

Physicians use to do house calls and were an extension of our families. It is my belief that with technology and video conferencing, we are revitalizing this practice. We are working towards making sure healthcare is accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status, physical health or location. Companies are starting to find that this is a beneficial practice and therefor beginning to pay for these services. Read more here.

As a military spouse who moves often, I found my way into this out of necessity. As I have begun down a path I would not have chosen, I have been pleasantly surprised to find out what an amazing tool this truly is. I am able to continue to see clients that I otherwise would have had to terminate with. I have been able to see clients in an environment they are comfortable in. This often leads to more openness and an ability to dig deeper. For clients I use to see in person, the transition has been seamless. For new clients, I feel that I’ve been able to develop the same level of personal connection that I would have with them in my office. I am able to lead them through exercises in the comfort of their own homes. In a place where they will be implementing the skills obtained in the future without me.

How many times have you been in a provider’s office and you realize you forgot something important? Or you spent precious time in transit or waiting? With Telehealth so many of these stressors are gone. So what are you waiting for? Why not give teletherapy a try today. Let me walk you through the process and make you a believer. Contact me today for more information and I’d be happy to talk it through with you.

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