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Pros and Cons of Remote Therapy

The Pros and Cons of Remote Therapy

 The Pros and Cons of Remote Therapy

The COVID-crisis quickly took remote, phone- or video-based therapy from an experimental option to a vital method for providing therapy services. 

Based on our experience with remote therapy, the Wellness Connection believes remote options can be a powerful part of our patients’ wellness toolkit. But remote therapy does come with some real challenges.

It’s best to take a practical approach that acknowledges some potential drawbacks while looking at very real opportunities that come with newfound flexibility. In this article, we take a look at some of the challenges that come with remote therapy, alongside some of the unique benefits it can provide 

The Challenges of Working with a Therapist Remotely

Technology has helped mental healthcare professionals continue to provide help even in the midst of a global crisis. And a few patients may even find they prefer the flexibility of remote therapy. 

The Wellness Connection worked hard to transition (almost overnight) to a remote model that would ensure the best quality of care in the face of an unprecedented crisis. We use state-of-the-art software to provide fully HIPAA-compliant remote therapy sessions. This approach also allows patients to have easy access to records and billing, all while making it easy to submit an insurance claim.

We are very proud of the care our therapists provide remotely. Remote therapy, however, comes with some real challenges.

 Remote Therapy Challenges

    1. Reading Emotions from a Distance: a great therapist will use all sorts of contextual clues, like body language, to help generate insights during therapy sessions. Body language context (like a nervously tapping foot or fidgety hands) can be harder to pick up remotely.
      In the past, remote therapy was restricted to phone calls. Fortunately, today’s video technology does allow for the reading of important facial cues. The availability of high-quality, easy-to-use video options that are fully HIPAA-compliant is helping to close this gap.
    2. Finding a Space for Wellness: sometimes, the act of driving to a therapist and sitting down in a quiet office can help separate this self-care time from weekly chaos. Conducting therapy from home risks eliminating this barrier.
      Ideally, your therapist will have some tips to help create a good time and space for your remote therapy sessions, helping to ensure the optimal environment for your therapy session
    3. A Connection-Building Challenge: the personal relationship between a therapist and patient is an important part of the overall benefit therapy can provide. Many patients may find this connection easier to build from within the same room.

 The Benefits of Working with a Therapist Remotely

The COVID-crisis may have accelerated our culture’s move toward remote therapy. But remote therapy isn’t just a temporary band-aid for this time of crisis. We think the benefits below are some of the most important reasons why remote therapy is a big part of the future of mental care. 

 Remote Therapy Benefits:

  • Finding Time: sometimes, fitting a therapy session into our already busy week can be a real challenge. For busy people, this barrier can even feel insurmountable, preventing them from feeling comfortable signing up for therapy.
    Remote sessions can be only a phone- or video- call away, and this added element of flexibility can make therapy accessible to new patients. Simply by eliminating some of the logistics, like driving to the therapist’s office, remote options can be less burdensome on a busy schedule.
  • Geographic Flexibility: many different types of life situations require either frequent travel or commuting between multiple cities/regions. For these patients, a remote option can dramatically simplify finding time with a therapist.
    Rural areas present another challenge for traditional therapy offices. Today, we are able to provide quality services to remote rural areas that may have been.
    College students are the perfect example: they often split time between their hometown and city where their school is located. Meanwhile, many small college towns don’t offer enough mental health services to support the school-year population. We can now support our clients at home, in school, or even during vacations.

    For a more specific look at remote therapy options for college students, we recommend our page here.
  • Better Accessibility: this point is a natural extension of the first two; beyond scheduling and geography, life can make it difficult to make room for therapy.
    Anything from the need for at-home childcare to a physical disability, to a demanding class schedule, can simply make it impossible to reliably leave the house at a regular time each week.

    That’s why remote therapy doesn’t just make scheduling easier but can open up therapy for individuals who never found it practicable before. 
  • Opportunities to invite family members into important conversations: In therapy, it is often helpful to meet with multiple members of a family to add more content and clarity to the issues being addressed. 
    In the past, asking family members to attend therapy could feel daunting.  In this remote environment, gaining family support has been more easily attained and has allowed us to address many issues in a more direct approach, allowing us to decrease the number of sessions necessary.

 Learning More

If you’re interested in exploring options for remote therapy, please give us a call at (703) 327-0335 or send us an e-mail at info@wellnessconnectionllc.com.