There is absolutely no doubt that Covid 19 is proving to be a blight on our lives in so many ways, economically as well as physically. It has also been a challenge psychologically for those already undergoing a therapeutic intervention and those who need psychotherapy as a result of Covid lockdown. For them, the inability to meet their psychotherapists face to face is the biggest change. But has it been a change for the worse? Experience is proving that online consultations can actually be a change for the better. How can that be?
- Accessible – patient recovery rates in young patients can be 80% more effective with parental engagement, and it is easier to get families to come to online consultations, so there is a much higher rate of take up and engagement. This is particularly important when family members are in different cities or countries or different time zones. It is also beneficial to some who are too anxious to come in to a face to face consultation with others in a family.
- Flexible – consultations can be held at times to suit patients without the need to risk travelling or interfere with work and school timetables.
- Best match consultants – we can match specialisms of clinicians with patients much more easily because online, it doesn’t matter where people are – the best is always available.
- Joined-up management – the capacity for increased integration of clinical and administrative staff has clinical advantages. Consistency of communication is easier between clinicians, GPs, schools and workplaces.
- Clinical efficacy – one of the greatest benefits of face-to-face consultations is that the most significant therapeutic work is done at the boundaries of the clinical relationship between patient, clinician and environment. It is these boundaries that create psychological provocation which allows observation and dialogue at greater depth. However, online, there is a shift of this meta-clinical relationship because the space each occupies is separate, and this is a positive advantage in its own right as the clinician is given a view into the patient’s private world. This can also make the work quicker because the clinician has to be bolder to interact and get the same output from the patient in their private space.
In sum, online psychotherapy can work better for patients than ever before, whether they are individuals, couples or families. Covid’s silver lining.