With the social distancing restrictions imposed by the pandemic, therapy-seeking patients have started to appreciate at-home treatment benefits. From financial perks to enjoying the comfort of your own home, teletherapy is slowly starting to outweigh the conventional in-person therapy methods. Can remote therapy really be the solution to all the distance-imposed problems and, more importantly, is it as effective as the traditional one?
What is teletherapy?
Teletherapy is part of the telehealth trend, the use of information communication technologies (ICT) in medicine and healthcare, for the purpose of enhancing their quality and efficiency. When it comes to counseling and therapy sessions, it involves utilizing online platforms, such as ZOOM, FaceTime, Doxy, or other video media.
Although remote video communication has been around for decades, it’s not until recently that online sessions became widely accepted in the professional circles, as people were skeptical about the quality and potential downsides of such a setup. Since the communication with a therapist involves one-on-one interaction, it’s personal and often includes vulnerability and intimacy, it seemed that a video call couldn’t make up for the “real” relationship and connection you make like when you’re physically present in a room.
On the other hand, both therapists and patients have noticed the remarkable convenience technologically-enhanced sessions have brought, making it a go-to option even if face-to-face treatment conditions are available. Recent studies have shown that telepsychiatry reduced psychiatric hospitalizations compared to not getting treated at all. With a few adjustments and a proper attitude, communicating online may even completely replace conventional therapy in the future.
Overcoming the issue of distance
People who live in rural areas and require long-distance commuting can benefit a lot from online therapy. This eliminates any distance-related obstacles like time wasting and financial burdening. When traveling is out of the equation, all clients can conveniently get in touch with their therapist and organize their schedule efficiently regardless of their geographical location.
Reducing demand for facilities
Not only is teletherapy convenient for patients but also for practitioners who work in private clinics or have their own private practice. Online sessions eliminate the need for a clinic or office, optimizing time and space. The already crowded services can minimize the pressure put on satisfying the demand and create significant cost savings.
Benefits for the elderly and disabled
One of the biggest advantages of remote therapy is having to get a service without leaving the comfort of your home. This particularly refers to those who can’t enjoy the luxury of traveling, such as the elderly and disabled, or those who have a hard time getting out of the house like depression and chronic anxiety patients. Paradoxically, those are the people who benefit the most from mental-health therapy and counseling, as their disadvantages put tremendous emotional and social pressure on their mental state.
Not only do ICT platforms provide the much-needed convenience, but they can also encourage the underprivileged to seek healthcare and opt for the practitioners they find most appropriate and trustworthy.
Online speech therapy for children with special needs
Children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder or other developmental issues often struggle with speech impairments, from mild stuttering to more severe diagnoses like aphasia. Apart from the inability to verbally express themselves, ASD children deal with behavioral problems that can slow down the treatment and affect their willingness to follow directions. Very often speech-language pathologists work on children’s emotional and social challenges alongside the treatment.
The therapy itself is stressful enough and can come across as threatening to the child, especially if the tasks get too challenging. Patients who are too shy and vulnerable often rely on their parents’ support or canine-assisted therapy to calm down and seek emotional help.
The team at Better Speech who offer affordable and convenient online speech therapy told us that online speech therapy allows ASD children to feel comfortable and safe enough to open up, regain confidence, and feel more encouraged to use verbal communication. This idea is backed up by research, discovering that ASD children showed more compliance and assertiveness during online speech therapy than during regular face-to-face sessions. The fact that a child can be playing in their room in a familiar and pleasant environment enhances the chance for speech therapy results.
As this model of technologically-enhanced communication continues to grow exponentially, so do the advantages of teletherapy. Since clients can have access to first-rate professionals regardless of their location, the provided treatment sets the bar high for quality and efficiency. The future certainly looks bright for teletherapy!