Is online Counseling as good as in-person Counseling?
An article written by our Founder and CEO,
Nicoletta Pallotta, MD, LCSW
The fear is, because tele-mental health is a newer, alternative form of treatment, it is somehow less effective or a less desirable standard of care.
But the truth is, this technology platform represents much of the future in healthcare, and will likely lead the charge into the next era. In my opinion, having provided mental health care for over 35 years, tele-health works particularly well using digital, video-based care models, allowing us to reach more people in need, who otherwise, go without quality care.
This is one of the few health specialties that does not necessarily require ‘touch’ when doing an assessment or delivering treatment. Without that physical need, the Care Provider does not typically need to be in the same room as the client, allowing many more ways this care model could benefit their clients.
One might ask; does this communication between client and provider be as good as an in-person visit?
This may have been true when tele-health was in its infancy and lacked the technological capabilities it currently has. With the recent advancements in video conferencing systems and the ability to access much higher Internet speeds, the quality of video provides an environment in which there is little difference to an in-person consultation. The Care Provider will still be able to pick up on nonverbal cues and observe other factors such as their behaviors, facial expressions, hygiene, and speech patterns.
Tele-mental health care is as effective as in person sessions.
It also greatly increases access to care for many clients who may not otherwise be able to seek treatment. Allowing the client to seek treatment in their community, or even in their own home, has led to less travel, fewer absences from work, less time waiting, more choices for treatment, and ultimately, these factors lead to greater access for clients. This is especially important given the huge shortage of providers in this field.