Online therapy : The 5 psychological keys that explain the effectiveness of online therapy


Online therapy : On the surface, online therapy sessions, conducted through a digital video calling platform, appear to be very different from those conducted face to face with the psychologist. The stereotypical image of the patient speaking from a sofa while the therapist takes notes sitting in a chair a short distance away is practically an icon, and that also makes talking and interacting from electronic devices can be shocking as a psychological therapy idea.

However, beyond these superficial differences, reality shows us that online psychotherapy by video call is perfectly comparable to the “classic model”. On the one hand, scientific research shows us that its degree of effectiveness is the same as when in the same room as the psychotherapist, and on the other, in a very short time the number of people who have opted for this option from a distance you grow a lot. But why this?

The main psychological keys behind the effectiveness of online therapy

Every psychological phenomenon is multi-caused; In other words, it cannot be explained by looking only at a single fact. The psychotherapeutic process, as a psychological process, is not an exception to this, and that means that whether a session goes well or not does not depend solely on one factor to take into account.

That is why the effectiveness of online therapy is not caused by one of its characteristics; here we will see a summary of various aspects of this psychological intervention format that helps to understand why it works and is effective faced with a wide variety of problems. There are probably many more, but these are the ones we consider the most important.

Online therapy : 1. Sources of stress are reduced by saving us the transfer

The rush, the physical effort to get to the consultation and the fact of managing the travel time well they are aspects that can stress or fatigue us with relative ease. With online therapy, we begin the session without these types of elements with the potential to wear us out.

2. The possibility of being in a safe and familiar place is offered

Doing therapy is leaving home or another place that we know well and that offers us calm and privacy. In this way there are fewer stimuli or contextual elements that distract us or that can disturb some people prone to stress, and in this way it is easier to “dive” into the therapy process from the first session.

Online therapy : 3. The flow of non-verbal communication is not cut off

Online therapy : Verbal communication, based on the non-verbal language of our gestures, grimaces, postures and everything in the voice, is very important in the therapeutic process. In the end, all the problems to be addressed and overcome with the help of the psychologist are associated with emotions and feelings that are reflected not only in what we say, but also in how we say it.

So, psychotherapy professionals must both know how to pick up on these subtle signals that are beyond words, how to adapt to those emotional states in real time. The objective is both to help the patient to advance towards their goals of improvement and self-improvement, as well as to establish the appropriate psychologist-patient therapeutic bond.

Online psychotherapy by video call is today a format that allows the collection of most relevant aspects of non-verbal language, thanks to the rapid transmission of data from Internet services and the good quality of the cameras manufactured today.

Online therapy : 4. You win in discretion

Going to the psychologist is very normalized and it is generally assumed that anyone may need, at some point, to resort to psychotherapy services, but there are still those who prefer to have discretion in these cases.

In this context, something as simple as not having to manage the fear that others “see” us by going to the psychologist’s office makes the attitude of many people more positive.

5. Most therapeutic tools are still available

Online therapy : Fortunately, many therapeutic resources have their version adapted to the online format by video call. This means that the fact that the patient is far from the psychologist’s office is almost never a limitation, except in exceptional cases in which the use of very specific three-dimensional materials is required, but which in most cases can be substituted.

Online therapy : Are you interested in having psychological assistance from experts?

Online therapy : If you are thinking of starting a psychotherapy process or you are interested in having more information about the different psychological assistance services that exist both online and in person, please contact us.

In Advance Psychologists We have been helping people of all ages for more than 20 years, and currently, in addition to video call psychotherapy or in our center located in Madrid, we offer speech therapy, neuropsychology, psychiatric assistance, coaching, couples therapy and family therapy services.

Bibliographic references:

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
  • Change, D. (2008). The Effectiveness of Telemental Health Applications. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 53: pp. 769-778.
  • González-Peña, P., Torres, R., Del Barrio, V., and Olmedo, M. (2017). Use of technology in psychological practice in Spain. Infocop.
  • Gratzer, D. and Khalid-Khan, F. (2016). Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of psychiatric illness. CMAJ, 188 (4) pp. 263-272.

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