Online therapy seems to be the answer to the question; how can psychologists work without endangering themselves and their patients. But is it a good answer? 

The pandemic has forced most health care providers to explore options that allow them to see patients remotely, and psychologists are no different. Today, a lot more psychologists than ever are trying out online therapy. This sort of thing would never have happened before the pandemic. 

The prevailing question, of course, is whether online therapy is just as good as in-person therapy. It's easy to think that in-person therapy may be better because, well, it's physical. But the research certainly doesn't point in that direction. 

According to Ashley Batastini, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research at the University of Memphis, in-person and virtual therapy offered roughly the same outcomes for patients. 

Batasini and her colleagues recently published a large study that compared clinical interventions delivered via videoconferencing and those delivered in-person. According to her study, virtual therapy is about as effective as in-person ones. This research may be enough to assuage psychologists' concern that online counseling is just a terrible substitute for in-person therapy. 

Other advantages of online therapy include the fact that it provides therapy for people who may be isolated for one reason or the other. It gives you the comfort that you can always speak to your therapist, even when you cannot leave your home. 

While Batasini's research on the surface may point to a pretty picture for online therapy, it isn't that easy. Online therapy's success depends a lot on the patient's access to great internet and private spaces. Vulnerable and underserved clients, for example, may not have access to the internet and private space where they can talk freely with their psychologist. Additionally, some insurance companies may not necessarily cover online therapy, and it is certainly not the best way to treat people suffering from serious psychiatric diseases. 

But even these concerns aren't limited to the patient's side of the screen either. There have also been serious concerns raised about the general privacy and security risks of online therapy. For one, psychologists need to be aware of computer security best practices and need to put them in place before trying to speak with their patients. 

To do this, they should only use platforms that are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act. They should also use clear consent forms that tell their patients the risk they expose themselves to and how these risks are being managed. 

Some people are waiting for the pandemic to end so that they can go back to in-person therapy. However, it's unlikely that the new status quo will change even when the pandemic ends. Now that many psychologists have had their eyes open to the wonders of online therapy, some will not be willing to go back to the world of in-person therapy. 

To do this, they should only make use of platforms that are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act. They should also make use of clear consent forms that tell their patients the risk they are exposing themselves to, and how these risks are being managed. 

Some people are waiting for the pandemic to end so that they can go back to in-person therapy. However, it's unlikely that the new status quo will change even when the pandemic ends. Now that many psychologists have had their eyes open to the wonders of online therapy, some will not be willing to go back to the world of in-person therapy.