Risks and Benefits of Virtual Therapy
It is hard sometimes to talk to someone face-to-face about all of the problems you are going through. There are those that prefer virtual therapy through websites and apps in order to get help at the touch of their fingertips. There are many virtual therapy options in the UK such as Remote, a text-based counselling, as well as the app Babylon which has 150,000 users and PlusGuidance which has 10,000 users. Before being willing to undergo virtual therapy, it is best to understand the risks as well as the benefits that come.
The advantages are that people feel comfortable being able to express themselves openly about their symptoms. Virtual therapy would also be more accessible for those who live in rural or remote areas where they do not have clinics available. It can also be useful for those who are disabled or not able to leave their house. Virtual therapy is also more affordable as a 50 minute session on PlusGuidance is only £40, making it beneficial for those without health insurance.
The disadvantages are if people became too comfortable talking to a computer screen, they might avoid human-to-human interactions which is important to have. If a patient does not have a good experience with their online agent, then they might be less willing to seek help in the future. Privacy leaks and hacks could be a growing concern as you have no idea how the private information you tell your agent will be used.
If a serious crisis occurs that needs medical attention, the virtual agent would not be able to do anything about it. This would not be the best mode of therapy for those with serious conditions that need proper medical attention. Text-based therapy would make it impossible for an agent to see the facial expressions, vocal tones, and body language in order for the agent to get a clear picture of their client’s feelings, moods, thoughts, and behaviors. Responses can also take a while to go through depending on the internet connection and you will not get the same agent in each session, making it a nuisance to have to explain the same story again to someone else. You should also make sure your agent is a professional therapist and has been qualified by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Keep these cautionary tips in mind before deciding to go through virtual therapy.
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