Like so many around the world, this year The Summit Clinic has pivoted to providing our services online. Via remote video call with patients, we’re able to continue providing the highest quality psychotherapy sessions to everyone, without risking physical health in the process.

But, how does online therapy work? Is it more or less effective than face-to-face therapy? And what can you expect from your online therapy sessions? We’re here to answer all your online therapy questions.

How does online psychotherapy work?

Much like face-to-face psychotherapy, online therapy is fundamentally grounded in talking. Throughout your online therapy session, our psychotherapists will guide you through a series of probes, encouraging you to voice your feelings and express your emotions through talking.

While we may not be in the room with you during your session, online therapy still allows us to see your reactions, read your body language, and interpret your thoughts in ways that allow us to develop a deeper understanding of your core troubles.

Online therapy sessions are conducted via remote video call – allowing us to both hear and see you throughout the session. We believe that reading your body language and reactions is a vital part of the process of therapy, and thanks to video conferencing technology we are able to still gain that deeper insight from afar.

When you first contact us about online psychotherapy, we will, as we do with all new patients and clients, first conduct a telephone consultation to see if we are the right fit for you. Finding the right therapist is a fundamental part of seeking help and we want you to get the right help for you. If we believe we are a good fit, we’ll schedule our first online therapy session with you; if we or you don’t think the fit is quite right, we’ll recommend you to another professional who will be better equipped to help you or might be a more suitable match.

Once your online therapy session is arranged, you’ll receive a link to access a secure and private video conferencing appointment with your therapist. Online therapy sessions, just like face-to-face sessions, are entirely private and never recorded, and you can rest assured that anything you discuss with your therapist remains 100% confidential.

What’s the difference between online therapy & face-to-face therapy?

While some people will find face-to-face therapy more comfortable than online therapy, we have seen incredibly positive results from online therapy sessions over the past few months. Video conferencing facilities allow us to virtually be in the room with you, meaning we’re not losing out on any insights we can glean from your body language and micro-reactions.

Many online therapy platforms conduct therapy sessions via written messaging or voice-only – meaning that the therapist is unable to gain that deeper insight. With our online therapy, we do everything we can to replicate the context of a face-to-face session so that we can properly understand you, your emotions and your issues. The only difference is that you’re in the comfort of your own home, and we’re in our clinic: other than that, our online therapy sessions are conducted in the same way as normal individual therapy.

Is online therapy as effective as face-to-face therapy?

There’s a lot of concern about online therapy and whether it really can be as effective as face-to-face therapy. In our experience, online therapy can have just as positive an impact on your life as face-to-face can – and in a much more convenient way.

While our move to making online therapy more widely available was prompted by the Coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdown, online therapy has opened up our ability to provide patient and client support flexibly and more efficiently than before. Whilst we are now returning to seeing patients and clients face-to-face, many are still choosing online therapy as it simply fits in more easily with their busy schedules and avoids any additional anxieties around travel and physical health during this time.

The goal with therapy is to always make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible – and, for some (perhaps more of us than usual in the current circumstances), being able to attend therapy online from the comfort of your own home is much more preferable. Therapy of any type will be more effective if you are comfortable and feel safe and we’re finding that many patients feel more at ease during online therapy than they would during face-to-face therapy at this time.

Aside from our anecdotal evidence that online therapy is effective, there are some research studies that have shown online therapy to be just as beneficial as face-to-face therapy. For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that online internet-based interventions yielded very similar results to face-to-face interventions in the treatment of depression.

The benefits of online therapy

Not only does online therapy allow for effective treatment and sees no significant downside compared to face-to-face treatment, there are also significant benefits to being able to provide online therapy – both during this pandemic and beyond.

As we’ve touched on, online therapy can be much easier to fit in with a busy, hectic lifestyle: working flexibly, we’re able to provide online therapy sessions during the daytimes and evenings, to suit your work and family needs. It’s no longer necessary to book time out of your day job, or spend time travelling to and from the clinic: you simply need to find a quiet space at home with a laptop or tablet and an internet connection. The barriers to entry for online therapy are significantly reduced.

Other benefits of online therapy include:

  • Increased anonymity and confidentiality: there’s no risk of bumping into someone you know in a waiting room, for example. Online therapy sessions are entirely confidential and entirely private.
  • Fewer travel expenses to and from appointments.
  • Online therapy requires less time commitment, for both the patient and therapist: you have more time to live your life, and we have more time to help even more people.
  • It can be easier for some particularly private people to share information via online therapy than it is in face-to-face sessions.
  • Individuals with social anxiety (or anxiety about re-entry after the pandemic) will feel far more comfortable conversing online than having to travel and see people in-person, making therapy accessible for them.

I’m ready to try online therapy: what do I do now?

If you’re ready to try online therapy, the first step is to get in touch with our team at The Summit Clinic. We’ll have an initial chat with you to explore a little more about what you’re hoping to get from online psychotherapy. 

If we feel like we can help you and we’re the right fit for you, we’ll book in an online psychotherapy session and begin to develop a deeper understanding of your issues. If we don’t feel like we’re best-placed to help you, we’ll do our best to recommend alternative support, referring you elsewhere wherever possible.  If you do choose online therapy at The Summit Clinic, we are always happy to arrange face to face appointments with you, if practical, if this helps you feel more connected to your therapist.

If you’re ready to make long-lasting changes through psychotherapy, we’re looking forward to hearing from you.