In the room or online: Is in-person therapy really better?

'Therapy' text in the middle of random letters. Photo by Annie Spratt

In the room or online: Is in-person therapy really better?

COVID-19 opened the door for the rise of video calls for online meetings, conferences, and even therapy. Now that the world is starting to put COVID-19 behind us, the popularity of virtual meetings hasn’t dwindled yet - and it may never.

However, when it comes to therapy sessions, is online therapy as good as in-person?

This blog will explore this debate in more detail, taking a closer look at the benefits of both, and which one could be the better option.

Is in-person therapy better than online?

Mental health is becoming less stigmatised than before, particularly after the pandemic. In fact, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem each year in England, highlighting the importance of mental health treatment.

As previously mentioned, online therapy has become increasingly popular for patients and therapists alike. On the one hand, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better than in-person therapy.

What is in-person therapy?

In-person therapy is the traditional method of talking therapy (also known as psychotherapy) where the patient meets with a licensed therapist at a private office or treatment centre. Throughout the session, the therapist will ask questions and facilitate the conversation, encouraging the patient to discuss their experiences, concerns, and more.

Sessions are scheduled routinely, lasting up to 60 minutes or more, and can be either 1:1 or group sessions. In-person therapy sessions will place more consideration into the overall ambience and appearance of the office or meeting space to promote comfort and a sense of safety and security.

What is online therapy?

Meanwhile, online therapy encompasses the above, but without the need to meet face-to-face. Instead, the patient and therapist may meet on a video calling platform like Zoom, Skype, or something similar. Like in-person therapy, these can also be scheduled on a routine basis and last up to 60 minutes.

Why is in-person therapy better than online?

Both in-person therapy and online therapy have their own set of benefits. We’ve summarised the main benefits of each below:

Benefits of in-person therapy

Location - sessions that take place in a private office is a neutral space that can increase comfort for patients when sharing their feelings and emotions.

Nonverbal cues - in-person therapy allows therapists to see and read nonverbal cues, helping them understand patient needs and emotions better.

Additional support - in-person sessions offer the opportunity for the therapist to provide additional therapeutic support, such as playing music, play therapy, art, and more.

Privacy - in-person therapy can provide a sense of confidentiality and security, which online therapy might not, especially if patients are afraid that others might hear what they share.

Not reliant on technology - online therapy requires a stable internet connection to work, but the internet isn’t always reliable; this isn’t a problem with in-person therapy.

Benefits of online Therapy

Convenience - online therapy is extremely convenient, with the option of attending a session in the comfort of your own home - or anywhere.

Cost - online therapy is often cheaper than conventional therapy sessions.

Accessibility - for those who may find commuting to the therapist’s office difficult, online therapy offers an accessible alternative, which is ideal for those with social anxiety.

Choosing in-person therapy

While both modes of therapy have their own set of benefits, in-person therapy is still a recommended form of treatment for a number of different mental conditions, particularly for those who require additional support.

Although body language and nonverbal cues can be seen during a video call, the intimacy of in-person therapy shouldn’t be overlooked. Online therapy can have many limitations that may prevent patients from receiving the most out of their therapy sessions.

A combination of both online and in-person sessions may be suitable depending on the patient’s circumstances.

In-person therapy sessions with Talking Health

Although online therapy might be convenient for some, in-person therapy offers an ambience and familiarity that online sessions cannot. Both can be effective, however, if you are searching for a more intimate setting that fosters familiarity and privacy, then in-person therapy may be better suited for you. Find a therapist in London with Talking Health - we have a network of qualified and expert therapists and counsellors who are committed to helping people better understand their emotional wellbeing. If you’re a licensed therapist looking for a therapy room to rent in North London, we also have high-quality, soundproof, and well-equipped rooms for you to use for your sessions, complete with furniture, access control systems, and privacy. For more information about our services, or if you have any further questions, please contact us by giving us a call on 020 7887 2674 or emailing us at info@talking-health.com.

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