Does Online Couple’s Therapy Work?

The current global pandemic has caused most people in this country to have to shelter in place for many months. This has caused a lot of stress and strain for families and couples. And, often acute or sudden stress can bring underlying relationship issues to the surface. But, since many states are still in lockdown mode and residents are still practicing social distancing, how can couples facing these issues get the help they need? Through online couple’s therapy.

What is Online Couple’s Therapy?

Online couples therapy offers the same benefits as face-to-face therapy, with the added convenience and privacy of getting the help and support you need at home. Usually, sessions are held via video chat and with the couple in the same location. However, online couples therapy can be particularly beneficial for those couples who are dealing with the stress of living apart because of long-term hospitalization or military deployment.

Besides the lockdown or being apart from your spouse, what are some other reasons couples may choose to try online therapy as opposed to face-to-face therapy?

  • It’s easier for those couples with busy schedules
  • Convenient for those couples living in geographically isolated areas (rural America as opposed to big cities)
  • Some people find going out into public or driving stressful
  • Couples may not want to be seen by anyone in their local community walking into a therapist’s office
  • When one or both partners has a disability that makes attending in-person therapy more challenging

Online therapy follows a similar model to traditional therapy and in most cases, therapists do nearly everything online that they do in person. The only real difference is that it may take a little bit longer to get comfortable with each other, as human beings tend to connect more when they are in each other’s physical space. But once the connection has been made and everyone feels comfortable, there is no real difference in how sessions are conducted.

When Online Couples Therapy is Not a Good Idea

While online couples therapy can be very effective and beneficial to a majority of couples, there are those situations when it would not be suitable. For instance, in the case of domestic violence. Couples therapy, whether online or over the internet, treats both partners as equal in the relationships and aims to save the marriage. But when there are abuse and violence, the partners are not equal (ie, partners are not contributing equally to the problems) and the goal should not be to keep a victim in a dangerous relationship.

Some other instances where online therapy may not be suitable:

  • If the couple has outdated technology and/or can’t access the internet
  • One or both partners distrusts technology or feels anxious about sharing over the internet
  • One or both partners feels uncomfortable having sessions in the home and would prefer a more professional setting

Again, for a majority of couples, online therapy can be very beneficial and even preferred. If you’d like to explore treatment options and do so online, please reach out to me. I’d be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

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