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Is online therapy effective?

Are you opting for online therapy services like Mankaa Kura but aren’t sure if it is effective?

online therapy

Advancement in technology has changed people’s lives and in many ways made it easier. This has led to society becoming progressively reliant on technology, shifting various aspects of one’s daily life from a physical to a virtual space. The Covid-19 pandemic further pushed society in that direction with most of the essential products and services being provided online. One of those services was mental health therapy or counseling.

With the increase in negative impacts on mental health, online therapy gained popularity during the pandemic. Besides that, because of the safety protocols put in place to minimize the spread of the pandemic, online therapy became the best alternative to seek mental health services.

It was also more convenient as therapy was being provided to people within the comfort of their own homes. Not only did it save the time that it would have taken to go to a physical session, but it also made it more accessible to people who may have been deterred from going to therapy due to distance or their physical condition. 

On top of all this, online therapy was usually more cost-effective than in-person therapy leading to more people preferring this form of therapy. Despite its growing popularity, people often have questions regarding its effectiveness. Before we get into that, let’s start with what online therapy is and what it encompasses.

What is online therapy?

Online therapy, also referred to as e-therapy or teletherapy, is a form of mental health counseling or therapy services that are conducted through various platforms over the internet. Using devices such as phones, laptops, and tablets, anyone interested in seeking counseling can connect to licensed counselors or therapists who meet their requirements. The sessions are conducted through video-conference, phone calls, emails, and chats or messages.

In many cases, the time for scheduling a session is very flexible and 24-hour service is made available so people can contact a counselor or therapist at any time. The sessions are mostly scheduled through websites or social media. 

online therapy

Online therapy utilizes different forms of psychotherapy (method of treating mental health problems by talking to a mental health provider like counselor or psychologist) that are used to support the clients. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Person-centered Therapy, and Psychoanalysis are some approaches used in psychotherapy.

It is however important to note that there are limitations to the treatment that can be provided when it comes to online therapy. Counseling or assistance can only be provided in cases where mental health issues are not severe. With more severe issues, it is recommended to seek help from a psychiatrist or have in-person sessions.

While online therapy, like most things, has its own set of benefits and limitations, it is slowly being considered as a good option when it comes to receiving counseling or therapy. Even with its growing popularity, there is still an unanswered question of whether online therapy actually works. 

Does it really work?

To ascertain if online therapy is effective, various institutions around the world have conducted research. These studies usually address the effectiveness of online therapy in comparison to face-to-face therapy. Based on the findings of some of the research conducted in recent years, it was found that online therapy could be as effective as face-to-face therapy. These findings are generalized as research on the effectiveness of online therapy has not been done on all types of people.

Research on online therapy in Nepal has not been done yet either, however, the findings from some of the research presented in this article can give us an idea of whether or not online therapy is effective.

An article published in 2019 by the Berkeley Well-being Institute, studied the effectiveness of online therapy for depression in adults. This was done with the help of clients of the mental health service platform BetterHelp. Based on the severity of depression in 318 active clients before and after psychotherapy, it was determined that around 98% of the people made significant progress and around 70% were cured of depression.

Similarly, in 2020, a systematic review was published by a group of Canadian scholars. They did a comparative study between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) conducted electronically and face-to-face for depressive disorders. A total of 17 different articles, published between 2003 to 2018, were chosen for meta-analysis (statistical analysis which is used to derive quantitative estimates combining the result of multiple studies).

The findings of this study show that online CBT or e-CBT is as effective as in-person therapy for the treatment of depressive disorders and there was very little evidence against it not being so.

Another study was done in 2020 by Italian medical scholars. They reviewed 10 articles that have assessed the effectiveness of various types of tele psychotherapy to treat common mental health disorders. Disorders that were mentioned in the research were anxiety, depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and panic attacks.

The research concludes that tele psychotherapy is comparable in effectiveness to in-person therapy for common mental health disorders. It was emphasized in the article that, regardless of whether it was tele psychotherapy or in-person therapy the progress could only be made if a person went to therapy regularly.

There are also many accounts provided in various mental health therapy platforms like Mankaa Kura, my online therapy, and TalkSpace where the clients have shared their experience with online therapy. Some of their client’s responses are:

“Stellar services and amazing counselors who are actually helpful. Stellar services.”

Mankaa Kura client on Google Reviews

“I use it weekly, and it has worked wonders. Would 100% recommend it.”

– my online therapy client on Trustpilot

“@talkspace has helped me so much. I was always scared of therapy. But man it helps”

-Talkspace client on Talkspace website

Many other platforms provide online mental health therapy and it has proven to be helpful for their clients. Their experience can to a certain extent be backed up by the findings of the studies mentioned above. While it may not be suitable for every single individual, based on the findings and experience of people it can be said that online therapy works and it can be as effective as face-to-face therapy especially for common mental health disorders.

Mankaa Kura is a mental health service platform that operates both online and offline. Online counseling sessions are conducted through phone or video sessions, which are done through media that ensures the privacy of the client. Mankaa Kura is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant which means that it is responsible for ensuring that sensitive patient health information is not disclosed without the patient’s knowledge.

There are currently a total of 4 counselors in Mankaa Kura, each with their own expertise to ensure that the clients get the best support for their mental health concerns. More than 430 one-on-one counseling sessions have been held by the counselors at Mankaa Kura. However, the platform is not only limited to providing counseling sessions but also helping to spread awareness so that more people opt to go to therapy and take better care of their mental health.

References

Austen gave My Online Therapy 5 stars. Check out the full review.(n.d.). Trustpilot.
https://uk.trustpilot.com/reviews/5f867f89798e6f07705dd0c3?utm_medium=trustbox&utm_source=MiniCarousel

Hazlegreaves, S. (2020, October 5). The future of therapy: Online counseling searches increase by 124%. Open Access Government.
https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/the-future-of-therapy-online-counselling-searches-increase-by-124/95498/

Luo, C., Sanger, N. et al. (2020). A comparison of electronically-delivered and face to face cognitive behavioral therapies in depressive disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine, 24.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100442

Mankaa Kura. (n.d.). Mankaa Kura – The Care You Deserve.
https://mankaakura.com/

Marcelle, E. T., Nolting, L., Hinshaw, S. P., & Aguilera, A. (2019). Effectiveness of a Multimodal Digital Psychotherapy Platform for Adult Depression: A Naturalistic Feasibility Study. JMIR MHealth and UHealth, 7(1).
https://doi.org/10.2196/10948

Poletti, B. (2020). Telepsychotherapy: a leaflet for psychotherapists in the age of COVID-19. A review of the evidence. Taylor & Francis.
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09515070.2020.1769557

Talkspace. (n.d.). Talkspace – #1 Rated Online Therapy, 1 Million+ Users.
https://www.talkspace.com/

Written By:

Purnima Banjade

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