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Online therapy has been around for a while, but unless you’ve been on another planet for the last few years you’ve probably noticed almost every healthcare provider except dentistry is being handled online at this point.  Even though some therapists (myself included) are offering in person sessions, many therapists are working online at this point.

Let’s look at some of the myths and realities of seeing a therapist online.

online therapy: myth and reality. Answers to common questions about online therapy. Therapy for Men - Dr Rick Pomfret

Don’t have a cow. Online therapy has come a long way…

Myth: Online therapy isn’t as good as seeing someone in person.

Reality: Studies going back to 2010 show that online therapy has as good and sometimes better outcomes for patients than in-person therapy.  Therapists have been working with clients online for over 10 years as high-speed internet has become more accessible and reliable.  I know some therapists who only met with clients online before the pandemic.  I do not know any who are meeting face to face with clients now.

Myth: Online therapy is not covered by insurance plans.

Reality: Currently many companies that did not pay for online therapy are paying for it since the COVID-19 pandemic required people to shelter in place and have continued to pay for online therapy.  You should check with your insurance company to see if they will cover therapy or will reimburse for providers who are out of your network.

Myth:  You need to have a laptop and a private location in your home or apartment for online therapy.

Reality: Ideally, you will have a quiet spot in your place where roommates and children cannot interfere with your session or be audibly screaming in the background.  However, the flexibility of online therapy means that I have had sessions with clients while they are in a park or their car since you can use most secure video platforms via apps on smartphones.  Even if you can’t get to a quiet place.  Since the pandemic everyone has had to make some adjustments and is doing the best they can to get the support they need and connect with others.

Myth: Therapy must be done on a Zoom-style platform.

Reality: I have some clients who prefer to just do phone sessions or do a combination of video and phone sessions when they feel a little burned out on zoom.  Most people feel exhausted after doing a lot of zoom meetings because the video format requires our brains to work harder to process non-verbal information and we feel more obligated to have focused attention than we do when we are meeting people in person.  I also remind clients it’s ok to look other places than the screen while they’re talking if it makes it more comfortable.

Myth: Once online, always online.

Reality:  Many providers are seeing clients in person now that it is safe to do so.  Some therapists are offering in person appointments on certain days and others are only working online at this point – you’ll want to ask providers you are looking into what options they offer.  Some clients have been surprised by how well online therapy works for them (yes, there are the occasional technical issues) and the flexibility that it offers has lead some to continue online after the pandemic.

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If you have any questions or would like help managing the impact of the stress so many of us are dealing with right now please contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

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Therapy for Men is a practice led by Dr. Rick Pomfret that offers solution focused counseling and psychotherapy services tailored to the needs of men. Their services encompass anxiety therapy, depression therapy, relationship therapy, men’s issues and support for those navigating life transitions or divorce. With offices in San Francisco and Corte Madera, Therapy4Men provides convenient access to mental health care for men in the San Francisco Bay Area and online across California.  Please reach out if you have any questions about online therapy.