It’s acceptable to talk about mental health struggles now more than ever, and it’s clear that we have millennials to thank for that. Seriously. Millennials and Gen Zers seem to be the ones who helped open the door to normalize talking about mental health and taking it seriously.
Mental health includes our mental, phycological, and social well being. Everyone has mental health, and at some point in their life, everyone will struggle with a mental health issue. The severity and frequency of these struggles varies person to person, but nonetheless, mental health is something we should all care about. Keeping up with your mental health should be part of looking after yourself. Now with websites like Better Help and Zoom sessions with therapists, you might be wondering if virtual therapy is worth it. Is it better than traditional therapy? Just like most things, there are pros and cons to both.
Traditional therapy, also known as talk therapy, is a tried and true method. It has been around for ages and many people have good experiences with it. In talk therapy you visit your therapist in person, usually for an hour long session, and talk about what’s going on with you and your mental health. Your therapist might ask you some questions, give you journal prompts, lead you in exercises, and give you other tools to help you cope with the stresses of life.
Virtual therapy is essentially the same thing, but rather than in person, it’s over a phone or computer. With teletherapy you can video chat your session with your therapist, and some platforms even let you text with your therapist when you just need to check but don’t need a full session.
Virtual therapy is nice because it is often far less expensive than traditional therapy and you can check in with your therapist periodically between sessions if needed. If you do a phone therapy session, it might also be easier to really dig deep and share what’s going on because you don’t have the added pressure of being face to face with someone. You can do virtual therapy right from the comfort of your home, which also makes it easier to schedule and perhaps makes you more comfortable sharing.
A draw back of virtual therapy is that you don’t get the in person connection you have from traditional therapy. Being in the same room as your therapist, face to face, allows you to build trust and connect with them on a deeper level that you could through a screen. If you’re someone that thrives off in person connection and gets energy from being around others, perhaps in person is better suited for you. Having your therapist office be a space separate from your home that you must commute to can also provide some time for you to mentally prepare going into the session.
Virtual and in person therapy are very beneficial for your mental health and both are great options to consider. You don’t have to have a severe mental illness or have experienced a trauma to start therapy. It’s beneficial for maintaining your mental health no matter what.