Assured Psychology | Calgary, Alberta

Virtual Therapy During COVID-19

Virtual therapy during COVID-19 has been the main professional focus for me in 2020 and now into 2021. When we were directed to move therapy sessions to a virtual platform (via telephone and video), neither my clients or myself anticipated it would last this long, or that it could have turned out to be such an interesting and rewarding experience.

Teletherapy is not a new concept

I learned that teletherapy is not a new concept and that it has been around for more than 20 years. Not only is it an older method of offering therapy, it has produced outcomes that are equal, if not better, than in person support. While initially research was limited, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there have been numerous articles being published on the benefits and efficacy of teletherapy from both perspectives of the consumer and the provider. While virtual therapy is not for everyone, both sides are limited not necessarily by tangible reasons but rather by personal preferences or hesitations.

My Experience With Virtual Therapy During COVID-19

In the beginning I was skeptical and apprehensive, yet enticed and curious. Working with individuals experiencing trauma, incredibly painful past or present circumstances, my concern was whether there would be a lack of physical and emotional safety, and whether we would be able to connect and stay connected from so far away. As the months went by, it became apparent that my concerns, while necessary for building awareness and preparing for contingencies, were unfounded.

Not having the option for in-person sessions pushed all of us into unchartered territory. Yet isn’t that exactly what therapy is meant to do? It invites anyone daring to explore to be challenged in order to find out what one is capable of.

Facing the unknown of virtual therapy during COVID-19, my patients continued to get better and reported enjoying sessions as much, if not more, than attending appointments at the clinic for various reasons.

Some of the virtual therapy benefits I noticed:

  • Flexibility & convenience for individuals homeschooling or working from home
  • Less missed appointments
  • A deeper sense of safety & comfort created by the environment chosen by the participant (whether at home in a comfy chair or outside in nature)

So is virtual therapy during COVID-19 better than in-person sessions?

When it comes to the question of teletherapy vs in-person sessions comes down to personal preference. Most of my clients gravitated towards video sessions, especially in a group setting where body-focused approaches were utilized, taking participants into deep and vulnerable spaces. Seeing other participants can be distracting…maybe that’s why Freud had his patients lay on the couch facing away from him.

My invitation for you is to try, just as anything in life, before deciding what may or may not work for you. When a connection is made in the most supportive way, be it with the therapist who understands you or a platform that gives you space and comfort, you end up feeling safe which allows you to go deeper. Only you know what is the best fit for you.

My conclusion is that I will continue to support virtual therapy, even after the pandemic is over.

Article by: Lyuda Krupin