When my partner and I founded iTherapy, we developed the concept to meet the needs of our existing face to face clients, during a particularly rough winter season in the mountains of North Carolina. As travel was severely impacted we were missing many appointments with our clients. Many of our clients were already struggling, and the isolation and the inability to meet with their therapist was making them feel even worse.
In order to provide continuity of care I began meeting with my clients via phone and video. I was amazed at how effective it was and how easy it was of my clients to attend video or phone sessions. My clients loved the flexibility and ease of being able to meet with me without leaving their homes and dealing with the inclement weather. One of my clients was severely depressed and really struggled to attend appointments as it was such an effort, to our mutual surprise, she never missed an appointment when she could meet via video, it reduced many of the barriers that usually got in her way of attending appointments.
As winter turned to spring many of my clients that were college students began to ask if we could meet online during the summer. Summer and breaks have always presented a challenge for college students and counselors, as when students head home they typically face new challenges adjusting to new routines, being back with parents, away from friends and relationships. Now they were able to head home, to foreign study programs or to new cities with the confidence they could still continue regular therapy sessions with a therapist who knew their story. They shared the relief they felt by not having to start over with a new therapist or forgo therapy altogether.
I had another client who had a busy schedule and was worried about being seen at a therapist’s office. She was able to meet with me via video from her office and once even from her car, (she was parked, not driving!). The flexibility and convenience have allowed so many busy people who otherwise probably could not attend sessions, to meet with me on a regular basis.
While online counseling is neither for everyone or for every situation, I have been amazed by all of the wonderful applications and by the effectiveness of the treatment. Therapists often wonder if the personal connection and the ability to observe nonverbal communication is reduced . I find that it is heightened when using video by being focused only on the client and nothing else. Phone appointments seem to work in the reverse as many clients share they feel empowered and protected by the anonymity and they are able to share things more quickly and honestly than they have in the past.
Obviously, I am a believer, and I am biased. But I wanted to share my experiences in the hopes that more therapists and clients will at least give online therapy a try. If you are ready to take the next step please take a look at the site www.irx.thedotsmedia.com and schedule an appointment or feel free to send me a contact request through the website.
Licensed Psychological Associate