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Telehealth or Face-to-Face?

Boyce & Dale Anxiety and Mood Disorders Clinic offers telehealth (video) sessions as an alternative to face-to-face sessions for anyone who has that preference. In fact, for some people we encourage it. Here we first consider the merits of each option.

Telehealth benefits

Therapeutic Benefits

Specialised Services: clients have a much broader range of therapists to choose from, enabling them to find someone who has strong experience with their specific needs, regardless of geographical limitations. There is no need to work with someone simply because they are the closest to you. With telehealth, you can find the person best suited to your needs, and get the most out of therapy.

Gradual Exposure: Telehealth can be a stepping stone for clients who are initially too anxious to attend face-to-face sessions, or to use the door they perceive as ‘germy’, or to drive the M4 to get here, or any number of other worries. Commencing psychological therapy using telehealth eliminates these stressors, making it easier to engage in therapy. Through this, they will then be in a greater position to be able to face these fears, and overcome them.

Relevance: exposure and other therapy tasks can be completed in a situation more relevant than a therapist’s office. For example, a person with contamination fears can do tasks in their own home with their therapist as a guide. A person with hoarding concerns can give live demonstrations of the challenges, and there and then complete tasks to address those challenges.

Easier Expression: Some individuals find it easier to express themselves and discuss difficult topics when not in the same physical space as their therapist, particularly early in therapy. This can lead to more effective communication and progress in therapy.

Control Over Environment: Clients have more control over their surroundings during telehealth sessions. They can create a setting that feels safe and comforting, which can help in managing anxiety during sessions.

Customisable Techniques: digital tools and resources can easily be integrated. These tools can be utilised immediately, in session.

 

General Benefits

Accessibility: telehealth eliminates the need for travel; all you need is an Internet connection and a screen. This makes it much easier for people in rural and remote areas, and it allows people to access our specific skill set regardless of how far they are from our Penrith clinic. In the past 12 months we have had clients seek psychological therapy from as far away as Spain, Lithuania, and the UK.

Convenience: Clients can attend sessions from the comfort of their own home or any private space, reducing the time and cost associated with traveling to a therapist's office. Psychological therapy can fit more practically into a working day, or around other obligations.

Anonymity and Privacy: we have a fairly discrete front door, and we do feel that the stigma around mental health is reducing, however we completely understand that some people might feel more comfortable psychological therapy without the need to visit a therapist's office.

Comfort: Being in a familiar and comfortable environment can help some people open up more easily and feel less anxious during sessions. In saying that, we like to think that we can make you feel comfortable in our environment…

Continuity of Care: telehealth has allowed greater consistency for therapeutic support, regardless of whether clients travel or move, or during public health crises like pandemics.

Safety: A little crook? Don’t feel like coming in, or don’t want to risk passing it on? The telehealth option the risk of physical illness transmission, which is particularly important during times of health crises like flu seasons or pandemics.

Face-to-face benefits

While telehealth offers numerous advantages, there are certainly benefits to face-to-face psychology sessions. Here are some benefits of in-person psychological therapy:

Non-Verbal Communication: face-to-face sessions allow observation of non-verbal cues more effectively, such as body language and facial expressions.

Personal Connection: some clients find that a stronger therapeutic relationship can be built through face-to-face interactions.

Fewer Distractions: in a Clinical Psychologist’s office, there are no family interruptions, pets, or technical issues.

Structure: the process of physically going to an office can provide a sense of routine and formality to the therapy process, which can be beneficial for some clients.

Technology Limitations: face-to-face sessions eliminate the potential technical issues associated with telehealth, such as poor internet connectivity, software problems, or lack of access to necessary technology.

Community Connection: attending therapy in person can also help some individuals feel less isolated, simply by being around other people even on the way to their session.

Easier for Some Demographics: certain populations, such as those who might not be comfortable with technology, or young children who benefit from a more interactive and engaging environment, might find face-to-face therapy more suitable.

Conclusion

Simply, there is no ‘right’ choice. Both telehealth and face-to-face therapy have clear benefits, but it's important to recognise that the best mode of therapy can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances, preferences, and the specific issues being addressed.

Our goal in our Penrith psychology clinic is to provide gold-standard, effective psychological therapy for your unique concerns, whether you’re in our office, your office, on-site or at home.

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