Face to face sessions are still the gold standard for psychotherapy these days for psychotherapists in Montreal. However, sometimes it’s not possible to be in the same room. In that case, a session using video conferencing tools is the next best thing.
Of course there are concerns about the very nature of online psychotherapy. Security is the most pressing issue, as hackers and even the government may violate a patient’s privacy. Some patients may also wrongly use long distance methods even when face to face sessions are possible. However, it’s still better than not having a session at all, for the following reasons.
- Psychotherapy at a distance is nothing new. Sigmund Freud himself sometimes helped his patients through corresponding with letters. Sessions over the telephone is much better because the therapist can glean information with vocal tones, and telephone guidance counseling has been around since the 1960s. Telephone hotlines for suicide and abuse, are still popular and effective today.
- Psychotherapists can at least see facial expressions with video conferencing. Using video overcomes the drawback of faceless telephone sessions. Psychotherapists can see whether a patient is smiling or frowning, shrugging their shoulders, or has red-rimmed eyes. Video conferences can help the therapist gauge the true nature of their patients’ emotions.
- Video conferencing tools are readily available. People use software like Skype and FaceTime all the time, and they’re very familiar to so many. Some of these tools are even free, and setting them up on a computer is very easy. All you need is a computer or a smartphone.
- There’s at an additional level of security. Phone calls through landlines and cellphones are actually more vulnerable to security breaches than video conferencing. The same is true for unsecured email. At least with FaceTime and Skype feeds, encryption is standard.
- It’s very convenient for crisis intervention. Sometimes a patient needs help immediately, and there’s no time to wait. This can be very true for suicide hotlines. Video conferences with therapists can be very easy to start so patients can get the help they need right away.
- It enables immobile patients. In some cases, patients just can’t get out of bed due to injury or illness. It would be helpful if psychotherapists made house calls, but that’s not practical either. So a video conference session is the only viable alternative. Many bedridden patients can be susceptible to feelings of depression or anxiety, and therapists can at least provide help directly.
- Patients with infectious diseases can also get help. Sometimes patients may have highly contagious diseases so no one should be near them. In other cases, the patient may have a highly vulnerable immune system so having another person around can get them sick. But at least with Skype they can get therapy and face time with their therapist.
- Patients can be assisted even when they’re in highly inaccessible regions. Perhaps the patient is in rough terrain, such as a desert, rain forest, or the arctic region. They may even be in a battlefield. The most effective way they can get psychotherapy is through video conferencing. Often these people also really need these sessions, as they’re more likely to suffer from clinical depression, PTSD, and mood disorders.
- Relocated patients can still get treatment. When a patient moves to another city, they will need to find a suitable replacement for their previous psychotherapist. Video conferences with their previous therapists can fill their needs for regular treatment while they hunt for a new one.
Although it is preferable to have psychotherapy sessions face to face, sometimes it’s just not possible and that’s when video conferencing with applications such as Skype and Facetime can be a suitable alternative.