I spent almost 30 years in private practice in San Francisco. I had an office where people came for weekly sessions. I loved the work and the personal contact I made with each client. But the number one thing that got in the way of these sessions, was the client’s inability to make it to session. This was sometimes a last minute problem or maybe something that was discovered a week ahead of the appointed time. Life interfered with exploring what life was about, and ironically, getting to a session to uncover and heal stress, anxiety or depression, sometimes caused more stress, anxiety and depression. Driving, parking, taking public transportation, paying for a cab or Uber can become stressful and very time consuming for many. Life is busy. Few have the luxury of time for not only an hour in therapy but sometimes another hour or more getting to and returning from therapy. In addition to the cost of transportation, there was often the expense of child care or hidden costs of having to leave work early or come in later.
But what about the problems of human connection? In my earlier career I would often do phone sessions when someone was out of town or couldn’t make it to session for one reason or another. I found that I was just as connected because I had to concentrate even harder on what was being said. I was even more focused. I find this to be true with video conferencing as well. We can see and hear each other, but we are not in the same room. For me, as the therapist, I find myself being highly focused during the session, perhaps to compensate for lack of in-person presence.
Today’s technology has made this innovation available. Consistency in a course of psychotherapy is essential for alleviating symptoms and feeling better. Online therapy makes consistency possible. Consistency can also shorten the course of therapy, bringing faster relief and costing less overall.
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