Is online birth trauma counselling as effective as in-person therapy?
Today, I want to answer this question we’re often asked as Australia-wide counsellors who provide in-person and online perinatal and birth trauma counselling.
Over the past few years, telehealth has become an increasingly popular option for people seeking therapy.
With this increased popularity, and the improved accessibility, flexibility and choice telehealth offers, many therapists and counsellors are now offering this option to their clients.
From the perspective of someone seeking support, the last thing that many of us need when we’re experiencing mental health challenges is to have to navigate unnecessary additional logistics/tasks. Being able to access counselling from your choice of comfortable locations, like your home, car, or another private and comfortable spot, without the need to travel or find a parking spot definitely has an appeal to it.
Online therapy, also known as telehealth, e-counselling, e-therapy, or teletherapy, is a way to access professional psychological support remotely – using your computer or your phone.
This opens up the possibility of having psychology sessions via video calls, phone calls, and messaging services. It also means you can choose to work with a therapist who has the most appropriate training and experience to support you, regardless of whether you’re based in the same town or city.
For example: we are a practice of counsellors who specialise in perinatal and trauma counselling, meaning we have the skills and experience to safely and effectively support people in processing and moving forward from their experiences of trauma. Because of this, individuals and couples can reach out to us for support, from all over Australia. We might be based in Perth, but through online therapy, we can support people as far away as Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.
Let’s take a closer look at the possible benefits and considerations when choosing in-person or online birth trauma counselling.
While each person’s situation is different and will call for a personalised therapeutic approach, research studies have shown that telehealth counselling can be as effective as in-person therapy, in treating a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and PTSD.
For the most part, research in this area has found no difference in client satisfaction between online and in-person therapy.
A specific study into the delivery of teletherapy to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder found that in the majority of cases online counselling was found to be as effective in reducing PTSD symptoms as in-person counselling. In some situations, teletherapy helped to increase the take-up of services. Overall, the veterans using teletherapy reported high levels of satisfaction.
There are many reasons people choose online birth trauma counselling over in-person therapy. Here are some of the main reasons:
Where traditional in-person therapy sessions require time out of your day to get to and from and attend your appointment, with telehealth therapy, you can have your session at a time that suits the rest of your day – and there’s no need to factor in travel.
Another advantage of virtual vs in-person therapy is that it can be more accessible. For example, individuals who live in rural areas may not have access to mental health support in their community. Telehealth counselling allows them to receive treatment from the comfort of their homes. Similarly, for people with physical disabilities or limited mobility, accessing online therapy may be more accessible.
Online therapy can help to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, offering a more discreet and private way to access support than the typical office-based settings of in-person therapy.
Sometimes the mental health support we need is not available in the area we live in. Telehealth therapy opens up many more options for connecting in with a therapist who has the specific skills and experience you need.
There’s no denying that online therapy has many significant benefits. There are also some considerations that may inform your choice.
When there’s tech involved, sometimes there may be occasional glitches or issues that can get in the way of your session. While these are usually minimal, it’s worth considering whether this will be a significant barrier to accessing the support you need.
Because we’re all different, different methods of receiving therapy work well for some, and less well for others.
For example, if someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, remote therapy makes it more difficult for a therapist to respond to the crisis situation as they may be able to in-person.
Therapy over the phone also removes the therapist’s ability to take cues from body language.
The convenience of therapy from the comfort of your home does come with a few considerations, such as: will other people be home during the session? Can you sit somewhere private for your session where you won’t be overheard or interrupted by other people around you?
You may try teletherapy and decide that you prefer in-person, or vice versa. The great thing here is that access to online counselling has increased the choices we have to find the support that works for us.
If you’re looking for birth trauma counselling, birth debriefing, EMDR therapy, perinatal couples counselling, or support with childhood trauma and PTSD, our practice can support you through online therapy (Australia-wide), and in-person counselling (Perth, WA).
During our initial conversations, if it sounds like in-person counselling may be more suitable we will always discuss this openly with you, based around your individual needs and goals.
And, no matter whether you choose in-person or telehealth, counselling provides an opportunity to explore your concerns in a safe, supported environment, gain an understanding of factors that may be influencing your situation, then work towards moving forward with tools and strategies to improve your situation.
As your counsellor, I facilitate this exploration with an integrative psychotherapeutic approach (including attachment theory EMDR, CBT, SFT, mindfulness), without judgement, with discussions that work toward achieving your goals and resolving issues in a way that suits you.
I will not diagnose you with a mental health condition, instead, we will work together to identify and draw on your own resources and strengths to overcome the challenges you’re facing.
If you’d like to explore online counselling as an option for you, get in touch here. I would love to support you.