Risks of Using Online Therapy Services
Sometimes life happens, and it affects us in different ways. One of the ways that unexpected events affect people is psychological. It could be the death of a loved one, a divorce, job loss, etc. Sometimes it could be stress or anxiety. These may affect our feelings or thoughts.
Whatever the situation is, it can affect your mental health to some extent. However, some people can pull through it independently, while others cannot. Therapy could be a solution for those who have a tough time getting over the trauma.
Therapy provides professional treatment for mental and emotional health problems. It involves a professional meeting with the individual who needs therapy. The therapy sessions are to help get over trauma or stress.
Professionals must obey all HIPAA regulations when offering therapy services. This is to help protect patients and their data at all levels. This includes their privacy, health, insurance, etc.
Therapy sessions often happen in person. However, it usually takes place in the therapist’s office. This is where the patient meets with the professional for sessions. However, some therapy sessions are also offered online. They are usually done through video chat, messaging, email, or a phone call.
Online therapy is also known as teletherapy, e-therapy, or online counseling. This therapy is ideal for people who do not feel safe outside their homes. For instance, the patient’s trauma could be from an accident or abduction. This fear may make them want to remain at home until they feel safe. In addition, some patients may suffer from a disability and cannot move around.
Online therapy helps to bridge the distance. It also helps to save money and time on transportation. You do not have to go to the therapist’s office. This means you can receive help from anywhere if you connect to the internet.
Risks of Online Therapy
Online therapy is a new method of trauma counseling that is not familiar to many people. Unfortunately, this may make individuals feel unsafe about it. Although online therapy has several advantages, the risks tend to be higher.
The following are some of the disadvantages that come with online therapy:
1. Lack of Effective Communication
Patients should be able to express themselves for effective treatment. Unfortunately, online therapy tends to prevent this from happening. This is because texting and chatting rob the client of effective communication.
A large extent of communication is nonverbal. It comes from facial expression, body language, and tone of voice. Sometimes, words fail us when we try to express ourselves.
Without these expressions, it is very easy for a form of misunderstanding to happen. For example, the client may not understand what the therapist is saying. Also, the therapist may not understand the level of the client’s emotions.
2. Lack of Privacy
There are some things you may not want anyone else to know about. Imagine how unpleasant it will be for your personal information to become public.
Without the encryption of online platforms, patients’ information can become public. In addition, some online platforms may lose patient information due to staff carelessness. This is another reason why in-person sessions are safer than e-therapy.
The internet makes it easy for illegitimate or uncertified counselors to operate online. Unfortunately, some of these therapists only set up their services to make money and thus do not do it correctly.
Unfortunately, some patients may lose money from booking sessions with fraudsters. In addition, some criminals can record sessions and blackmail patients with the information. The worst part is that they may receive the wrong treatment. This could cause more danger to their mental health.
4. Technical Problems
Online therapy is possible only with a good internet connection and reliable devices. You may not have a smooth therapy session without a strong internet connection. Sometimes, there could still be network issues if you have good internet speed. On the other hand, the session may not be as effective if the connection does not flow.
5. Lack of Connection
The patient should be able to connect with the therapist to feel safe. It may become an issue if the therapist and patient do not share a mutual connection. Although video and live chats are effective, sharing a physical space helps a lot. Being in the same space can help both parties connect emotionally.
6. More Distractions
When the therapist and patient are in different places, they may get distracted. This is because one person cannot see completely what the other is doing. There may be something happening in their environment that distracts them. They will focus completely on each other when they are in the same place.
7. Prescribing Medication
Online therapists who have licenses can prescribe medication. But most times, it is better to be in person. This is because telling the patient the name of the medication is not enough. The therapist must provide medication and explain how the patient should use it.
8. Lack of Insurance
How to Avoid Risks
The risks involved in online therapy do not render this method ineffective. On the contrary, some people prefer this to the traditional in-person methods. Also, online therapy may be the most convenient option available at a particular time. Despite the disadvantages, there are measures you can take to ensure your safety.
Before you book a session with any online therapy service, do some research. First, find out every bit of information you can about the service. Then, you can read reviews and ask questions to be sure about the platform.
Lookout for Credentials
Legitimate online therapists should be able to prove their professionalism. Ask for credentials and licenses if you do not see any on their websites. If the therapist does not have certifications, then do not patronize them.
Protect Your Information
Be careful about the details you share during online therapy sessions. Provide only the information that is necessary for the process. Try to give out information that could be a problem to you and others if it ever goes public.
Use a secure connection.
When logging in for an online session, ensure that the internet or WiFi connection is secure. Install protection on your system to prevent bugs and hackers from getting in.
It is true that therapy is a great way to heal from trauma. However, if there is no proper handling, it will not be effective. Online therapy is effective but can be risky. It is up to you to reduce the risk and enjoy the advantages.
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