ou’ve been looking for a therapist in Beverly Hills CA. We know you have a wide variety of options available. But the recent explosion of apps, services, and websites that offer psychotherapy services might make you wonder if you even have to visit your therapist in person for an appointment. You might think that it’s more convenient to meet with a counselor online. But now that offices are beginning to reopen, you might realize that it is more beneficial to start in-person therapy with a mental health professional rather than over the internet.
What Is the Draw of Online Therapy?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, reports that 60 percent of Americans with mental health concerns don’t get treatment. Online therapy could make it easier for these people to get help.
Teletherapy is convenient. You don’t have to leave your house or drive to an office. You can make yourself breakfast during an appointment, and you don’t have to find childcare for your kids.
But messaging via text or email isn’t the same as getting treatment in person. It’s important for a therapist to see your body language and hear your tone of voice.
For some people, meeting a therapist in person can help them relax and warm up to therapy – especially if you are new to therapy or starting with a new therapist. Some research indicates that therapists form a stronger relationship with their clients when they meet in person for a while before moving to a teletherapy platform. However, there are people who feel more comfortable conducting therapy from behind a screen.
Writing out questions and answers may help you organize your thoughts. Some people need time to think quietly before responding to their counselor. They may feel pressure in real-time settings. If this describes you, you may find that web-based therapy works well for you.
If you’re strictly involved in text-message therapy, you could be missing out. While messaging is an ideal way to reach out with quick questions in between sessions, it often works better as a supplement to in-person therapy than as the only format.
Plus, you need access to wi-fi to conduct online therapy. If you have spotty internet, your experience might be more frustrating than beneficial.
Some studies show that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy, but only for some people with certain mental health conditions. For example, teletherapy may be helpful for mild stress, depression, and anxiety. It might not be appropriate for other, more intense issues or feelings.
More extensive research needs to be conducted before we can determine whether online therapy alone is as beneficial as in-person therapy. But what we do know, is that there is nothing like being with someone and really feeling like he or she or they are really there with you.
Benefits of In-Person Therapy
Some of the benefits of therapy in general include:
• Enhanced self-awareness
• Improved physical and psychological health
• Enhanced ability to work through and process intense emotions
• Better coping skills
• Stress and anxiety relief
• Learn how to shift and widen your perspective
• Feel less alone
Given everything that has been going on over the past few months, I’m sure you are feeling like you just need to be around people. That might not be the case if you have social anxiety, but many people have realized just how much they miss the simplest personal connections during social distancing. Meeting with a counselor in person gives you a chance to leave the house and be with another person. It can be surprising how valuable a change of scenery can be.
Face-to-face treatment and talk therapy have been proven to be effective for helping people with a variety of mental disorders. In most cases, it is more helpful than antidepressants alone. Of course, you should always check with your doctor or psychiatrist before starting or stopping any medication.
The more severe the mental health condition is, the more likely in-person therapy is necessary. Online-only therapy might not be enough to help people with serious mental illnesses and those with significant symptoms related to depression and anxiety.
If you’re in crisis, you need an immediate response. You may not be able to wait for a text from your therapist. Moreover, the mental health professional might not be able to identify your level of desperation from afar.
From the therapist’s point of view, they could keep a client in the office if they suspected that the individual was a danger to themselves. With remote therapy, they’re not always able to confirm the whereabouts of an at-risk individual.
Some therapists do better with in-person rather than online therapy. If they are used to sitting with their clients in person, they may read the individual’s energy differently than they would if they were separated by a screen.
If you choose online therapy, it’s important to make sure that your therapist is comfortable with the format. Building a trusting, dependable relationship between a mental health professional and a client might require some face-to-face interaction.
Getting Back Into the Office for In-Person Therapy
You might be wondering whether it’s worth it to go back to in-person therapy or continue telehealth sessions. Think back to what has and has not worked if you have been participating in therapy online or by phone. Being honest with your counselor about these issues can help you both determine the appropriate next steps.
Some of the reasons to head back to in-person therapy might include the following:
• You’ll have a reason to leave the house and interact with others.
• You may feel less isolated.
• Your therapist may be able to pick up on more non-verbal cues, giving him or her or they a better understanding of what’s going on with you.
• You will be able to give your counselor your full attention and avoid distractions during a session.
• Certain activities or exercises that you do with your therapist may be easier to do in person.
• You feel safer and more secure sharing in person than you do online.
• You don’t feel confident using technology.
• You’re having an immediate crisis and need help.
If you’re dealing with an emergency, call 911. If you’re ready to get back to therapy, consider the benefits of returning to in-person sessions. Even if your telehealth sessions have been working for you, you might want to touch base with your therapist in person. A great deal of insight and growth can come from one face-to-face meeting.
Those who have put therapy on hold can also benefit from meeting with a counselor in person. Going to therapy is an act of self-care. It helps you achieve your full potential, manage stress, and respond to trauma. It can even improve your interpersonal relationships.
Plus, face-to-face treatment gives you access to resources that you might not have at home. If you’re looking for a therapist in Beverly Hills CA, feel free to contact us.
At The Beverly Hills Therapy Group, we offer a wide range of services for mental health issues and addiction. We are also following protocols for maintaining a healthy, safe environment for our clients and staff. For greater detail of what precautions are being taken, and to find out which therapists are easing back into in-person therapy, please contact us.
Although technology can be convenient and handy, it’s not always the ideal format for therapy. Text messages are excellent for checking in but not so great for managing a crisis. Any therapy is better than none, but in-person therapy can help you get on the path of sustained recovery.
Ron N. Gad, PhDFounder
Ron N. Gad, PhD is the founder of Beverly Hills Therapy Group in California. Dr. Gad holds a PhD in clinical psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Along with his staff of licensed therapist, Beverly Hills Therapy Group provides mental health services for many disorders including anxiety, trauma, depression, and several others.