02 Mar Benefits of Teletherapy
What is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is remote mental health counseling, provided via phone or a secure video conferencing application. It is a subcategory of the larger telehealth or telemedicine movement, which has been increasing dramatically in our world, due to both advancements in technology and the presence of a global pandemic. According to a recent report, “The global telehealth market is forecasted to reach $19.5 billion by 2025”, up from $6 billion in 2016.
Teletherapy allows patients to connect with a therapist from the comfort of their home
Mental Health Matters
According to nami.org, “1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness” and “People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions”, so mental health has a clear impact on physical health. However, the World Health Organization states that “mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities”. Thankfully, more people are recognizing that counseling is a viable way to promote mental wellness, even without a present mental illness or disorder. So, how can teletherapy help?
Benefits of Teletherapy
- Ease of Entry: goodtherapy.org says “20 to 57 percent of people in therapy do not return after the initial session”. We’ve all been in the uncomfortable situation of trying to find a new medical office building, waiting in a waiting room, sitting anxiously, perhaps feeling self-conscious. At a therapist’s office, many feel judged by others simply for being there. Teletherapy entirely removes that barrier. A patient is able to connect with a therapist in the comfort of their own home, in a space that makes them feel comfortable and safe.
- Privacy: Imagine again you’re in the waiting room of your brand new therapist, and you see someone you know. We live in an interconnected world, and while mental wellness is being normalized more and more as time goes on, many people still prefer to keep those visits to themselves. Teletherapy again eliminates this as a potential concern and barrier to getting help.
- Convenience: Teletherapy allows patients to connect with a therapist from the comfort of their home, which means no driving to an office which may be far away, no getting stuck in traffic, or being late because of a fender bender. Not that there aren’t other potential delays that could arise, but teletherapy reduces the inconvenience of going to a physical office location.
- Flexibility: An article in Psychology Today states “one of the biggest benefits of teletherapy for therapists is the ability to accommodate a larger range of appointment times with little to no impact on their well-being”. This increased flexibility is beneficial to both the therapist and the patient.
- Safety: We’ve already discussed the reduction of any potential traffic related dangers, but what about physical illness? Therapists and patients alike can participate in valuable sessions even when sick or potentially contagious. Those having to quarantine because of an exposure to COVID-19 can still attend their session with no added risk.
- Comfortability: Similar to convenience, many patients will find it much more comfortable to connect with a therapist in their own home. Many are still trying to reduce their contact with others during the pandemic as much as possible, and may feel much more at ease if their sessions can be virtual.
- Increased Access: There are many groups which can benefit from the ability to connect remotely to their therapist. Elderly or disabled people, college students who may not have a car or who have an established relationship with a therapist in their hometown, patients who live hours away or in a remote location, and more. These people can benefit from having home access to therapy. Therapists, as well, can live remotely wherever they wish and still have a positive impact on patients without inconveniencing anyone or having long commutes.
- Specialization: Therapists who may specialize in a particular subgroup are no longer limited to those in their surrounding physical location. Patients with specific mental illnesses can now have greater access to experts in that field.
Certainly, the current pandemic is one of the most obvious reasons people would consider teletherapy. Medicalnewstoday.com says “The COVID-19 health crisis demonstrates that the ability to seek medical care at home can slow the spread of illness and protect vulnerable populations. Teletherapy allows people to get mental health treatment at home without risking the spread of infection during epidemics and pandemics”. Telemedicine, including teletherapy, is here to stay after the pandemic resolves, with a large majority of virtual patients expecting to continue to take advantage of telemedicine post-COVID.
As you can see, there are an incredible number of potential benefits. While there are some potential drawbacks, such as technical difficulties, a bad connection resulting in choppy video or audio, and increased difficulty in reading body language, for many people the benefits will greatly outweigh the challenges. Employers can support their employees by offering counseling, wellness, and other services through an employee assistance provider. Care Plus can help companies with as few as two employees offer valuable assistance in this trying time.
Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.
Report: Telehealth Market Estimated to Reach $19.5B by 2025. https://www.hcinnovationgroup.com/clinical-it/news/13030029/report-telehealth-market-estimated-to-reach-195b-by-2025
Mental Health By the Numbers. https://www.nami.org/mhstats
Mental health: strengthening our response. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response
Why Do People Leave Therapy Prematurely? https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/why-do-clients-leave-therapy-prematurely-0627137
13 Benefits of Teletherapy for Therapists. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/millennial-media/201901/13-benefits-teletherapy-therapists
Teletherapy: How it works. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/teletherapy