I have to admit, when I first heard about the phenomenon of online therapy, I was convinced that it was nonsense. How could someone who isn’t in front of your face actually help you with your problems and heal to get better? I guess I’m old school because I’ve been going to therapy for over 20 years with various mental health professionals. I wasn’t familiar with how it was to work with an online psychologist, because it was completely foreign to me. Then companies started appearing out of the woodwork offering online therapy to solve real mental health issues like living with bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD and Depression.
This piqued my interest and I began investigating the different sites that offered online therapy. After that, out of seemingly nowhere, a friend of mine told me that she was meeting with her therapist via Skype to discuss trauma-related issues. I thought that was interesting and I wanted to know more. She told me that it was super convenient for her, because she leads a busy life. She’s a self-employed dog trainer who owns her won business so it’s hard for her to schedule time to meet an in-person therapist. She loves being able to talk to her therapist in the privacy of her own home.
And the thing is her therapist is a real person. She is a human being who breathes air, goes outside and interacts with other human beings. She has the capacity to help other human beings too! I mean, let’s think about all the Facebook and Twitter friends that we’ve never met in “real life?” Are they surreal? No, they are quite real. Sometimes we feel less inhibited when we’re in the privacy of our own environment and speaking to someone we’ve never actually met. I’ve written about the extremely real connections I have with people I’ve never met in person for Ravishly.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about why I was so judgmental about online therapists. I’ve never used one, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t awesome. I think it’s a personal preference as to whether you do online therapy or meet with a therapist in an office. Some people are more comfortable meeting with a therapist in person and others are more at ease talking online. Different learning styles might play a part in this too. Howard Gardner has the theory of multiple intelligences. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it says that people learn in many ways. Some of us are visual learners while others are auditory ones. You can learn more about that here. Online therapists are real human beings and they can help us. It’s just another medium to get help. I’ve defended having online friends to many people. I’ve heard all sorts of things that I don’t feel are true about making friends online. Those aren’t real friends, they don’t actually care about you etc. But they do! I have a friend in Canada that I’ve never met and I love her! Online friends are real and so are online therapists. What’s the difference with a mental health professional? Those are real people too. The point is, if you’re getting help, you’re getting help. So get help already why don’t you?