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The question “Is in-person therapy better than online” can’t be answered with a simple YES/NO.
However, preceding this question with ” Is therapy worth it?,” then yes, you answered that one correctly. That is why you are here searching out this next step in starting your therapy journey.
To find out if in-person therapy is better for you than online therapy, these are the key areas you want to look into:
Is In-person Therapy Better Than Online?
No, when working with a therapist, there is no difference between getting mental health help from an online or in-person conversation.
If you have chosen your therapist through an online platform, like BetterHelp, or emailed therapists around you to work with, they will all be certified and practiced in giving you the tools needed to achieve what you desire for feeling better in life.
The difference in value between the two options comes down to you.
What do you connect with more?
What gives you more value during your 60-minute therapy session?
What type of interaction gives you the best chance to thrive in your mental health and personal growth goals?
Let’s break down the sections that will help you understand this best.
Do you navigate towards meeting friends/family/new contacts in person? Or do you use social media and messaging platforms (Instagram DM, iMessage, WhatsApp, Twitter, Tinder, etc.) to constantly stay in touch, moving seamlessly from one to the other?
Do you find yourself seeking to connect with people for walks, coffee dates, meals, and walks regularly and shun the constant bombardment of others trying to interact with you on your phone? In-person therapy will most likely connect with you on a higher level.
2. Does your schedule allow for in-person therapy
One of the benefits of online therapy is the ability of the user to book a therapy session any time of day without the need to free up 30-60 minutes before and after it for travel.
In-person therapy will be more challenging in this aspect. You and your therapist must agree on a time that works both for your schedule (working in travel time) and around the open hours left in the therapist’s schedule.
A therapist can work 6-10 hours a day, taking breaks for meals and clearing their head from the sessions. It would lead to inevitable burnout for your therapist to work back-to-back sessions from the start of the day to the finish.
Due to these things, and depending on how many clients your therapist works with, finding time that works may be challenging.
3. Are there in-person therapists around you
With the rise of online therapy, there has been a steep decline in therapists offering in-person sessions. While online therapy platforms have taken the majority of online therapy work, therapists who have their practices have also opted for taking 100% of their sessions online through Zoom calls and Google Meet.
When you email your therapist for the first time, let them know you want to have your therapy session in person. By doing this you will be able to sift out potential therapists quickly, not wasting your time with unnecessary emails before realizing they don’t offer what your seeking.
4. Do in-person therapy costs fit your budget
The cost of a single therapy session can vary greatly, depending on what country and city you live in.
A single session with a therapist, who will see you in person, can cost anywhere from $75-$250. The cost per session will depend on where you live, the therapist’s credentials, and multiple other variables.
To have the best chance at getting the most out of your therapy sessions, you will want to see your therapist weekly, and if weekly is not possible, then two times a month will be the least amount of sessions you will want to drop to.
To help bring the cost down, you have a few options to decrease the cost of a single therapy session. One is going to group therapy, and the second is to do 30-minute therapy sessions.
I do not suggest you choose 30-minute therapy sessions if you are new to therapy or have a new therapist. The time allotment will be too rushed to give you the value needed.
Is In-person Therapy Better Than Online: Wrap Up
Choosing between seeing a therapist in person or online will not devalue your therapy. Instead, take the time to understand what choice will make you happiest and leave you in a better place to succeeded once your therapy sessions’ are over.
If your leading towards the thoughts that online therapy is better than in-person, let me help explain its benefits.
The value of a therapy session on zoom or in-person is the same. What makes one better than the other depends on how you feel.
No, online therapy is not less effective than in-person therapy.
Yes, virtual therapy is as effective as face-to-face therapy, especially when finding the time for you and your therapist to meet each week.
A few disadvantages of online therapy are not finding strong enough Wi-Fi to handle the video call. Another disadvantage is that some people may not find a video call as emotionally connected.