Therapists have been using online video to conduct therapy for many years at this point, though not without controversy. In conjunction with the Center for Addiction Services and Personalized Interventions Research, I have been using this medium for the past few years and can attest first hand to its pros and cons. The primary advantage, of course, is convenience. Whether because of geographic distance or scheduling limitations, conducting video sessions enables the therapists and clients the opportunity to connect that simply may not be available in person. The biggest downside, though, is that a lot of information and connection between the therapist and client that happens in person doesn’t translate through online video sessions. Eye contact is lost. Nuance is often impaired. Just having a sense about what the other might be thinking or feeling as a result of sitting together can also be impaired. Audio and video quality may be spotty, resulting in interruption and having to repeat parts of conversation, which can be disruptive to the flow of things. Distractions or interruptions (kids, pets, deliveries, etc.) that would not happen inside a therapist’s office can also hinder the process. In addition, the therapist’s office, a space that is separate from the space of day to day life can be less inhibiting when sharing what is troubling us.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s just not the same thing to connect with the image and voice of a therapist on your monitor as it is to connect in person. All of these genuinely affect the quality of the therapy process and should be considered. If meeting in person is possible, it is truly the better option.
That said, when meeting in person isn’t an option, online video sessions can still be effective, particularly in more directive or briefer treatments, assuming minimal distractions and disruptions. Without a doubt, it is better than no treatment, and likely better than poor treatment in person with the wrong provider.
Kaerensa Craft, LCSW June, 2017  
Kaerensa Craft | All Rights Reserved.