Let’s think back for a moment to what life was like in 2019. For most of us, it meant getting up early in the morning, going to work and getting back home in the evening. Some had even made the decision to go to a psychologist, something not so common in those days that now feel very distant. Maybe they had a particular problem or wanted to improve some emotional or social skill.
However, that meant leaving work in a rush to catch the subway or bus. They didn’t even schedule the appointment for late in the evening either since that meant getting home even later or arriving late to that meeting with friends during the week (we all know which one).
Then 2020 came along, where suddenly we found ourselves locked in our homes and everything simply became a virtual world. Of course, therapy was no exception.
Is online therapy as effective as in person? The answer is yes. Online therapy dates back to 1959, where this modality was used for individual and group therapy in Nebraska, though in those years the technology to do so cost several hundred dollars. While we might think that it is relatively new, it has more than 40 years of research with studies being conducted on thousands of patients and showing excellent results.
Online therapy also meant that both the cost for it and the physical distance decreased. Therefore, the pandemic managed to achieve something that mental health professionals had been seeking for years; that distance and money were no longer a limitation. This meant that people from regions that historically have had fewer access to mental health professionals, could find the specialist they needed. Chileans in other parts of the world are just one click away from accessing therapy with psychologists of their own nationality. Later on I’ll tell you why this is important.
As therapists, observing this on the other side of the screen, we found that it was more comfortable for people to attend therapy from home. Certainly, in this case we may think that the distance factor and savings in transport could have been the main reasons for that, but those were not the only ones. We know that it is never easy to make the decision to go to therapy since it can cause even more anxiety. So doing it through a screen helps to make it less threatening, as we are in the safety of our home and we have a cup of tea and a blanket in case it gets cold.
By: Marcela Díaz, Neuropsicóloga Grupo Cetep.
(Remember, if you need emotional support , you can book a session with one of our Psychological Counselors to help you with your wellbeing).