Online versus face to face therapy

Hi everyone, welcome back to my blog page. If you're new here please check out my previous and first blog titled 'Why Choose Therapy?'.

This blog is going to cover what it may feel like to experience online or telephone based therapy compared to meeting me face to face for sessions. It's an area that has been requested for me to write about, of course due to the impact that the pandemic has had on being able to conduct therapy face to face. If you have any other suggestions of what you would like to see here, please drop me a message!

So let's break this down into the pro's for each, we can then understand what the opposing con's may be. Let's start with face to face therapy which most counsellors were conducting before restrictions were put into place.



Face to face therapy


  1. Meeting your therapist (or in my case my clients) in person can perhaps create a closer connection. You are actually seeing that person in front of you, rather than just an image on the other side of the screen. For some clients this may deepen and develop the therapeutic relationship with their therapist quicker than having never met them at all. (But this may not be the case for everyone - do you think this would make a difference for you?).

  2. In person I am often able to understand more of your emotions, thoughts and reactions to what you are telling me. This is because I will gauge your body language in those moments. It may tell me that what you are talking about feels too much and we may need to take a break. It may show me you are close to tears and want a moment to catch your breath. Or that you feel very uncomfortable, so in that case again we may need to pause or I may want to explore with you why you are sitting in a place of discomfort around that part of our conversation. All of this is much more difficult on a screen where I only see your face.

  3. It can be very comforting when you are upset in a session to not be alone in the room in that moment. To have your therapist offer you a drink, a tissue or if it feels safe to you, a hand on the shoulder perhaps. You may find it more difficult when you are upset to have the session alone at home with no one there to comfort you.

  4. For some people it is very helpful to have a place to go to for therapy. Separating our therapy space from our home space can mean we can leave what we discussed in therapy in the therapy room and then come back to it (mentally and physically) the next week. You do not have to worry about someone else in the room next to you overhearing our session too.



Online or telephone therapy


  1. Therapy where you don't have to leave the house? Yes please! So many people are really feeling the benefit of being comfortable in their own homes for their sessions, whether it be comfy clothes or simply being in their safe space.

  2. A client's first few sessions in particular can often feel very daunting, especially if they have never had therapy before. Therapy online or on the phone can offer this more comfortable space at first until they feel (restrictions permitting) that they were then ready for face to face sessions.

  3. Telephone or online therapy can simply feel easier for practical reasons, you don't have to travel to our sessions meaning it may make it easier to be on time and juggle other commitments you have, as it is less time taken out of your day than adding travel time to and from a face to face session. A huge bonus for me is that I get to work with people all over the country who I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise.

  4. You may feel that telephone or online therapy has made it easier for you to start therapy, something feels more comfortable for you to be behind a computer screen rather than sat in front of me. More and more people are now accessing therapy due to certain barriers for them (possibly mentioned above) being reduced.

There are many other pro's and con's to the above, which would you add? I've chosen these examples as they are often what I hear most in feedback from clients and my colleague's experiences with their clients too.

I am grateful that I have adapted well to online / telephone work. It's crazy to think a year ago I had never heard of Microsoft Teams or Zoom and now it is simply a way of life for me in my profession. I now have almost a year's experience in working this way. I truly see the benefits of it and believe it offers another platform for people to access the support they deserve.

But I miss meeting my clients in person. I miss the small talk walking to and from my therapy room. I miss being able to offer people a cup of tea. But I look forward to meeting you in whatever capacity that may be. Whether you are zoomed out or want therapy from the comfort of your own home, get in touch today and we can organise your sessions for you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it has helped to gain some insight into the different ways that I work and the types of therapy I can offer you.


Look after yourself today,


Kate






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