Although the term ‘Skype’ is fairly new, video calling and (by association) video therapy are not. There are hundreds of studies, going back decades, that highlight the effectiveness of both video-conferenced and telephone-delivered therapy. But, who would benefit from counselling delivered this way and why would you want to do it?
Research has shown that it is especially helpful for busy professionals (or anyone with a hectic schedule for that matter) and also for disabled people – anyone who finds it difficult to travel or to find appropriate access.
But, it can also benefit people who travel abroad often for work, expats who prefer a familiar face (or someone with their own cultural understandings), people who have transport problems or childcare worries and those who just plain prefer the comfort of their own homes.
Other groups that would benefit from web therapy are agoraphobics (who fear leaving their houses) and people with phobias concerning public transport or germ contamination (although both groups will need to confront their fears at some point in the process).
Several studies show that online psychotherapy and counselling is just as effective as physical face-to-face therapy. One such study (Cohen & Kerr, 1988) into the effectiveness of the treatment of anxiety disorders online versus face-to-face found that both were equal in effecting a positive outcome.
In fact, online counselling has become so popular that there’s even a comedy series starring Lisa Kudrow (of Friends fame), called ‘Web Therapy’. Similarly, telephone therapy, although not always preferred by the therapists themselves (we do like to see your faces after all) is also highly effective.
Again, one such study into telephone administered cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), said the telephone was equivalent to physical face-to-face therapy. In fact, some companies, such as business service provider First Assist, make telephone counselling the first port of call.
I’ve helped dozens of people via online and telephone therapy over the years, including those not just from all over the country, but also from all over Europe and both the East and West coasts of America.
What with the sheer amount of smartphones, laptops and tablet devices people have today, coupled with the different free call software available (such as Skype and FaceTime), the wonder of it is that more therapists don’t offer it and that more people aren’t taking it up.
So, if you’re thinking of finding a therapist and like the convenience of web-delivered therapy, why not give me a call? I will offer you a free online consultation to test your connection and/or to discuss the online or telephone therapy process.