Remote Therapy: The Pros and Cons
by Katie DiMuzio
Not sure you can squeeze a 45-min appointment, post-session recharge, and commute time into your weekly schedule? Good news: Some therapists offer alternatives to in-person appointments.
There are two forms of remote therapy: Tele-therapy and online therapy.
In tele-therapy, some or all sessions are conducted through live phone calls or video platforms with secure connections (like Zoom).
In online therapy, users can reach out via e-mediums, like text messaging platforms and audio/video recordings. Unless you and your therapist have pre-arranged a session, online therapy occurs in a time-delayed format.
The benefits of remote therapy include:
The convenience of being able to seek help anywhere, whether you’re traveling, at home, or otherwise unable to attend an in-person session.
The relative anonymity of remote therapy can make it easier for first-time therapy seekers to reach out.
Potentially lower costs
Depending on your insurance and/or out-of-network benefits, remote therapy (especially exclusively online formats) may be less expensive than in-person sessions.
Greater access to providers
Remote therapy may make it easier for those with physical limitations (e.g., physical disability or individuals unable to leave the home) to access help.
This can also be a great benefit for parents with babies or young children who can’t be away from home, as well as those living in remote areas.
Related: BetterHelp vs TalkSpace – a cost and service comparison
Potential downsides to remote therapy include:
Limited insurance reimbursement and coverage
Insurance doesn’t typically cover remote therapy sessions. Exceptions include Breakthrough and Doctor on Demand.
Possible technology malfunctions
During live tele-therapy sessions, if either end has a slow internet connection, they may experience glitches like frozen screens or distorted audio.
Potential lack of personal connection
Some find online therapy limits the “personal” connection inherent to visiting a therapist in their physical office. Many therapists also prefer to work with clients in person, at least at the start of treatment, while the therapist-client bond is still being established.
Want to test out remote therapy? Some of our therapists at Zencare have the option of remote counseling which can complement your in-person appointments on days when a trip to the office isn’t possible.
Katie DiMuzio, LCSW, is the Partnerships Manager at Zencare. Through her work as a licensed clinician, Katie discovered how hard it is for people to learn about and access high quality therapy. This brought her to Zencare, where she is leading partnerships in the community to ensure Zencare is reaching those who need it.