Advantages of E-Therapy Over Conventional Therapy
Online therapy can make mental health care more widely available
Posted December 11, 2017
It’s a scientific fact that e-therapy can be as effective as face-to-face conventional therapy. In fact, the combination of e-therapy and medication are far more effective than medication alone—and yet this low-cost and easily accessible alternative to conventional therapy often goes overlooked as a therapeutic treatment. Numerous research studies support these findings, including a review of 30 trials of internet-based therapies published over the past decade, and another of 26 trials showing improvement in anxiety and stress in guided internet-based cognitive behavior therapy in as little as four to eight weeks.
E-therapy delivers maximum impact with minimal cost and yet it is still seldom used and poorly understood. If health professionals want to make a positive impact on mental health care in North America, this needs to change. Good quality e-therapy is readily available and advantages of implementing are many, including:
- Effectiveness: Reviews of trials conducted over the past 20 years show that guided e-therapy is as effective as conventional face-to-face therapy.
- Affordability: It’s no secret that the expense of face-to-face therapy is prohibitive for some people, especially coupled with insurance plans that provide little-to-no coverage. These factors can keep people who would otherwise seek therapy from starting treatment. E-therapy has affordable options.
- Convenience: Another major obstacle to regular treatment is finding time in a busy schedule to sit down with a therapist. E-therapy makes it possible for a person to seek therapy that fits their schedule. For those who are reluctant to leave home due to therapeutic issues, this could be a lifesaver.
- No limits: Many health insurance plans limit the number of therapeutic sessions they cover. E-therapy has no such restrictions and can extend indefinitely.
- Support: Physical issues often have an emotional or psychological component and yet patients can be reluctant to visit yet another doctor. For people living with chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease or traumatic injury, an inability to leave the house can be a major impediment to treatment. E-therapy can provide the emotional and psychological support necessary right from home.
E-therapy isn’t for everyone, but studies have shown its effectiveness for everything from depression and anxiety to eating disorders, ADHD and ASD support, and stress-reduction. It may sound cutting-edge today, but I predict it will become the wave of the future as people who were outside of the usual treatment areas embrace an opportunity to improve their mental health and emotional well-being.
Bottom line: E-therapy can deliver maximum impact for minimal cost, but the best choice is guided therapy according to research. Studies have shown that e-therapy is effective for a wide variety of psychological and emotional needs and can demonstrably improve the outcome of treatment over medication alone.