By Melissa Pandika
As the coronavirus pandemic presses on and forces many in the US to stay home for who knows how long, you probably feel overwhelmed and anxious, among other emotions, which you might prefer to navigate with a professional. Thankfully, video conferencing allows face time with a therapist from a safe distance. But maybe you’re skeptical. Maybe opening up over video seems a little weird, and you worry the experience might be a watered-down version of in-person therapy, and not worth the cost. But if you have no choice, how do you make online therapy feel like the real thing?
When a well-matched client and therapist share the same physical space, “there’s something really special that happens” ineffable chemistry that you don’t fully experience online, Annie Wright, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Berkeley, California. That’s why, “at the end of the day, it will never replace seeing a therapist in person, but right now it’s a good option.”
That said, online therapy allows you to continue making progress on your mental health goals from home, which is especially important now, Wright says. And since it doesn’t require you to travel, it can make scheduling sessions easier, too. “It allows people to be able to do this truly on their lunch break,” Brigham says. Plus, you might have access to fur babies, blankets, and other sources of comfort at home that you might not get in a therapist’s office, Hirsch says.
Research also suggests online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy for certain disorders. “It is effective, and it does work,” Brigham says. And most importantly, you can take steps to ensure it meets your needs.
“The first thing I would say is, if you’re feeling resistant or don’t think it’s going to feel as good, my advice is to just try it once,” Wright tells Mic. “Don’t let that feeling of it not being ideal stop you from getting support right now.” Remember, you can always transition to in-person therapy later when this is all over.