Although teleconferencing psychotherapy sessions are a relatively new phenomenon, the experience of doing therapy this way is no different than what has always happened in the therapy office. If the therapist and client have a rapport, the computer quickly disappears and only the relationship is apparent. This rapport between therapist and client is also crucial in face to face sessions. The closeness between client and therapist has no trouble coming into existence across the screen.
Web conferencing has been shown through research to be equally effective to face to face counseling, and I find it even more beneficial in that it gives you as a client more of your own boundary space during sessions and the ability to explore your feelings and perspectives in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
I think you will find that it is significantly more important to find a therapist you resonate and feel comfortable with and whose approach appeals to you, than whether you meet in a virtual office or a physical one. This holds true no matter how intense the sessions may become and what the issues are. The presence of a like-minded therapist with appropriate training and sensitivity has the same calming and healing properties whether in an office or through a web connection. Think about which friend you would rather speak with in a crisis, a good friend you trust and whose outlook resonates with your own who you can only reach by phone or webconference, or another person you do not have much in common with and don’t feel particularly comfortable with, but who is available to get together with you in person.
This said, some people may have a preference to be in person with their therapist. For these people, that would be the best choice, no matter the reason. But if you can’t find the right therapist that way, if you give teletherapy a chance, it will give you many more therapists to choose from. It may pleasantly surprise you how fast you will forget that the other person is not there in person. It’s the focus that matters. I think you will find that when two people are focused on one another and can see and hear each other, they are together, no matter the physical distance.
Not that there are no drawbacks to teletherapy. There are sometimes technological issues that come up and these can be disruptive if they happen often. Most online therapists will have a backup, like phone therapy, to substitute when there is an unsolvable technological glitch. I am now using Zoom.com, which almost never has any problems. Also, depending on your issues, you may need referrals to other organizations or types of help which your online therapist in a different location may not be able to provide. However, therapists are required to get emergency contact information from you, so even online therapists will be able, with your permission, to get in touch with family or friends of yours for support in an emergency.
Another downside of teletherapy is confidentiality. If the website used by the therapist is HIPAA compliant, that is, confidentiality protected, that will take care of any confidentiality concerns for the sessions themselves. Email communication however is normally not confidential unless the therapist has an encrypted email service.
Although Zoom.com, which I use currently, is not HIPAA compliant, it is so much more reliable than the others, that I've decided it is worthwhile to forgo the confidentiality concern. If you would prefer to use a confidentially guaranteed system, we can use Vsee, which is HIPPA compliant and second in reliability to Zoom.
My email service, Start Mail, is an encrypted service.
If you travel frequently or don't have time to fight traffic in order to get to the therapist's office across town every week, teletherapy is a convenient solution and you will not lose anything in the process.
My treatment approach lends itself very well to web conferencing sessions and if you feel comfortable with my approach, you can expect exceptionally good results from our work together in this online mode. I say this based on my personal experience working with people in this mode.