Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was a convenient option on snowy Connecticut days where meeting clients through an online platform was the safer choice. It also served as a helpful tool for continuity of treatment as college students and business travelers sought connection with their therapists while away from home. And then COVID hit, and online treatment quickly became an essential vehicle for therapy at a time when it was needed more than ever.
Vaccines and masks have made it possible for clients to return to the office to resume seeing their therapists in person. Some clients and therapists have embraced this option. But many, when faced with the choice, have not. Clinicians and clients alike are continuing to opt for telehealth therapy. There is the obvious reason that we are still in a pandemic and, for seniors and immuno-comprised individuals, telehealth remains the safer choice. But why are healthy people also choosing to continue with virtual treatment?
Teens and young adults have been raised in a virtual world and are very comfortable with the use of technology to build connections. They also like the convenience. Parents can schedule appointments for their children from home while they are working. Transportation is no longer an obstacle to treatment. In today’s busy world, people prefer the ability to fit therapy into a tight schedule without the travel and waiting time incurred when going in person. For some, the privacy of meeting with one’s therapist from home feels far more confidential than the prospect of running into a neighbor in the therapist’s waiting room.
Psychological research validates that virtual treatment can be as effective as in person treatment and has some distinct advantages. Therapists report that they have helpful windows into patient’s worlds as they see the backdrop of their lives on the screen. I have had the privilege of seeing a patient’s newborn and a teen’s redecorated room as part of the online experience. Patients often feel safer to express vulnerable emotions in a virtual world, perhaps due to the protection of a screen or the safety of participating in therapy from their own sofa. Cognitive behavioral treatment often involves exercises in a client’s natural environment. Through telehealth, clinicians can walk their clients through behavioral interventions in real time. Both clients and practitioners alike report the ability to form strong therapeutic alliances through virtual treatment.
The providers at MellaHealth have chosen to work within the telehealth modality because they have seen the benefits to their clients. Feel free to contact us if you would like to engage in an online treatment experience.