4 Common Mistakes When Starting Online Therapy

online therapy

When you begin to experience some concerns related to mental health, your first instinct may be to try to employ techniques recommended by online articles or friends, like mindfulness techniques or those related to self-care.

These techniques may work for some people; however, for most, it is necessary to take further measures to address mental health symptoms fully.

This reality is especially true for people experiencing symptoms of more severe mental health disorders.

In today’s age of technology, whether you’re a new patient or someone with lots of treatment experience, prospective patients have their choice of therapy format: in-person, or virtual.

Content Summary

Online vs. In-Person Therapy

In-person therapy is the “traditional” style of therapy many of us are familiar with. In traditional therapy, patients attend in-office sessions with their therapists, generally one or a few times a week.

Virtual therapy, on the other hand, takes place over the internet, typically via a web calling application, phone call, or messaging apparatus. Web calling platforms, such as Zoom and Skype, allow for the patient and therapists to still see each other but from the comfort of their own home or office.

Virtual therapy can be an excellent option for treating individuals with mild to moderate mental health symptoms and concerns, especially those who experience anxiety when meeting or opening up to new people.

Like many things in life, many individuals find that they need to be exposed to therapy a few times to begin feeling comfortable. It may feel awkward or embarrassing to speak with a therapist about your mental health concerns, no matter if you are face-to-face or screen-to-screen.

For many patients, participating in therapy sessions virtually helps to alleviate some of the anxiety associated with beginning therapy. This is only one of the numerous benefits associated with online therapy sessions.

4 Commons Mistake Made When Beginning Online Therapy

Before you begin therapy, it may help to be aware of some common mistakes patients tend to make when they start online therapy sessions.

Of course, we’re all human. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find yourself struggling to open up or adjust throughout the process; so long as you avoid the mistakes listed below, you’ll likely set yourself up for success regardless of which method of therapy you pursue.

Common mistakes include:

  1. Settling for a therapist you’re not comfortable with. One of the most typical and easy-to-make mistakes new patients encounter is continuing to see a therapist who is not a good fit for them. If a therapist and patient cannot form a strong relationship early on in therapy, it will likely be tough to cultivate a tight bond later. If the patient does not feel the therapist is a good match for them after the first few therapy sessions, it is likely time to consider switching therapists. It is also essential to make sure that your therapist is engaged in your sessions and puts real effort into helping you tackle your concerns and evolve as an individual.
  2. Being unwilling or afraid to ask questions. If you do not understand precisely what the therapist is saying or you need some clarification, as uncomfortable or awkward as it can be, it’s key to ask questions. Part of mental health treatment includes providing the patient with a thorough understanding of their concerns and help a patient understand what root causes may be in play.
  3. Being dishonest or lying, even about small things. Honesty in the patient-therapist relationship is fundamental. Patients must be honest with their therapists to fully explore mental health symptoms and experiences (and treat them accordingly). If a patient is dishonest with their therapist, they are only hurting their chances of getting better. Remember, therapists are not there to judge your actions and feelings. Therapists are there to help you improve your mental wellbeing and achieve your therapy goals.
  4. Not striving to be engaged and make changes. Finally, it is essential to engage in therapy sessions fully. When speaking with your therapist, give the conversation your undivided attention. And when your therapist gives assigned activities to complete outside of session time to aid in the progress of therapy, make sure you do it, or at least take note of why you can’t/are struggling. These activities are meant to benefit patients and teach individuals how to recognize, address, and manage symptoms of mental illness.

Takeaway: Attitude and Effort Matter

If you decide online therapy is something you’re interested in, it helps to keep these tips in mind. Navigating the process of choosing, meeting, and working with a professional can undoubtedly be challenging, but approaching it with a thoughtful and educated mind can make things much more straightforward.

Make the most of your therapy experience so that you can quickly start on the road to recovery. With the advice of a therapist and some hard work, you can improve your mental health, relationships in your life, and your overall livelihood.