Online therapy with a licensed therapist. A therapy that is done online or virtually.
Virtual therapy or e-counseling has been around for most people with different conditions, one of which is cancer. Here, the patient consults with his therapist through chat or videoconference. How can this help patients with cancer?
Virtual therapy has been effective in helping alleviate mental health conditions. People with depression or anxiety turn to e-counseling for support. Is this type of treatment really effective for cancer? Let’s learn more about it and how it can help cancer patients.
Online Therapy Is An Effective Psychological Intervention For Cancer Patients
Distress, anxiety, and depression are just some of the mental and emotional conflicts cancer patients contend with apart from their life-threatening illness. So in spite of cancer is a physical disease, its sufferers can significantly benefit from psychological interventions such as counseling.
It is important to note that ” online care is not for every patient or practitioner. Clients with more serious mental illnesses or addictions likely need more treatment than virtual counseling can provide. And some clinicians may find certain telehealth modalities difficult.” A clinical psychologist Nina Barlevy, PsyD said. Virtual therapy is the same as traditional face-to-face psychotherapy. The only difference is the use of the internet as the medium of communication between the therapist and the patient. The latter doesn’t have to meet the former physically as sessions are done via:
- A software that allows video calls like Skype
- Emails, and,
- Text-chats technology
Online Therapy Benefits And Advantages
You can do your sessions or call up your therapist anywhere as long as there’s an internet connection. This flexibility – which is absent in traditional counseling – appeals to people who are housebound or those who are unable to travel the distance to see a psychologist.
Therapy Online Is Discrete
There’s always a stigma surrounding mental health issues, and some people don’t want to carry the label “not right in the head” just because they went to see a psychologist. You can do your sessions right in the privacy of your room without anybody knowing.
Requires Little from that Seeking Therapy
So basically, there is lesser anxiety involved with it. This fact is important as people – like cancer patients – are already dealing with so much pressure, strain, and pain. It won’t be right to force them to see a counselor face-to-face as it would make them clam up more and increase their distress.
The Efficacy Of Online Therapy
There already are studies that show the efficacy of internet-based counseling. For it to be able to work, John M. Grohol, Psy.D. says “This kind of effort takes a fair amount of commitment and understanding of the virtual world.” Some of these are:
- One study included the treatment for some of the participating couples who are too far away from the traditional face-to-face sessions. In the end, both those who participated in conventional psychotherapy and those who used the internet reaped the same positive results.
- A report detailed how three brief psychological intercessions made by professionals – one web-based while the other two were traditional – on cancer patients helped them cope with anxiety and improved their ways of living during and until after their treatments.
However, some undertakings also showed that patients with terminal illnesses received little to no benefits from this treatment regarding support and intervention compared to those who received the traditional way of counseling.
Online Therapy vs Traditional Therapy
But as one expert who is involved both in traditional and online therapy (she has a private clinic and at the same time works with BetterHelp), the individual is the most vital factor when it comes to choosing what form of treatment to use. “Therapy is extremely personal and intimate, you don’t want to have to go with the only one that has availability.” Sena Moran, LMHC said.
“Some people have no qualms meeting up with professionals like us face-to-face,” she said. “But there are some who are more comfortable opening up when the person they’re talking to isn’t there physically. So the choice depends on the individual who undergoes the therapy.”
As for the 35-year-old breast cancer survivor?
She’d been going through treatment for two months now.
“It feels great actually to talk to someone about my burdens,” she stated. “And my family doesn’t know. I feel it’s best this way.”
- Can you talk to therapists online for free?
- How effective is online therapy?
- Who is not suitable for online therapy?
- What are ethical issues in online therapy?
- Is online therapy cheaper?