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Different forms of therapy can offer support to work through mental health needs. Virtual therapy continues to gain popularity after a massive increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The convenience of connecting to therapy from home provides access for many with limited options. On the other hand, the neutral space of a therapist's office takes you away from daily life, offering a more focused environment.

Both virtual and in-person therapy appear poised to stick around. Face-to-face and online therapy offer unique benefits. Consider some of the pros and cons described throughout this guide to help you select the best option for you.

What Is Traditional Therapy?

Talk or traditional therapy provides mental health support through face-to-face or in-person interactions with a licensed therapist. Weekly sessions typically take place in an office setting for 45 minutes to an hour.

Research notes that psychotherapy regardless of format can reduce symptoms of depression and psychosis, making it just as effective as antidepressants.

Pros of In-Person Therapy

  • Nonverbal communication: In-person sessions allow therapists to read nonverbal cues that support verbal communication. Nonverbal information can help a therapist better understand your needs.However, nonverbal information is not completely lost in video format. Seeing a client's environment with video can also offer additional nonverbal insights, but a phone session would not have this advantage.
  • Neutral location: Sessions that take place in a therapist's office can provide a space away from your everyday life. A location that feels neutral can increase your comfort when sharing private information.
  • Intensive support: Some mental health needs require direct, in-person therapeutic support. Art, music, and play therapy can provide effective support when used in person.

Cons of In-Person Therapy

  • Cost: Rates typically do not differ much between in-person and virtual therapy, so there is no cost advantage to either format. Traditional in-person therapy can average $100 per session.
  • Accessibility: Getting to and from therapy sessions can prove a significant challenge for some. Traffic, public transit issues, and commuting time adds up. Taking time away from work or other priorities can also limit access to in-person therapy.
  • Timing: Long waiting periods, due to lack of availability or differing schedules, might force a delay to begin sessions with a new therapist.

What Is Online Therapy?

Online therapy, also called teletherapy or virtual therapy, provides mental health support from any location. Some forms of online therapy include texts, emails, phone calls, and video services.

Therapists may offer virtual options directly through their personal practice. Online platforms also provide opportunities for individuals to connect to therapists within their networks. Virtual therapy appears equally effective as in-person therapy for treating mental health needs.

Pros of Online Therapy

  • Cost: Therapists who join virtual therapy networks might offer cheaper monthly rates when booking multiple sessions at a time. However, while the company might promise increased access to a therapist at lower weekly or monthly rates, prices might eventually go up.
  • Convenience: With virtual options like texting and emailing, you can connect with a therapist from virtually anywhere at any time. Online services provide access to therapeutic support quickly and with little hassle.
  • Easy access: Online options provide easier access to therapeutic support for those with difficulties commuting to in-person therapy sessions. Connecting virtually can also lower social anxieties associated with sharing physical spaces with others.
  • Reduced stigma: No one needs to know about your therapy sessions. You can choose to remain anonymous through online therapy networks, and no one can see you heading off to a therapy session unless you want them to.

Cons of Online Therapy

  • Internet reliant: Video conferencing comes with the added pressure of you and your therapist relying on an internet connection. One or both of you may lose service, interfering with your ability to connect when desired or needed. This should be discussed with your therapist on how this situation will be handled if internet service is lost.
  • Limits to care: Some more serious mental health conditions may require an in-person session. Therapists may find limits to effective care options. Also, those who supplement their income by joining a virtual therapy network can sometimes become burned out, leading to lower quality of care.
  • Communication restrictions: Text and email communications can limit the depth of understanding between you and your therapist. Without body language and nonverbal cues, communication can feel limited. Also, patients should not assume a therapist is available 24/7 virtually.

Online Therapy vs. Face-to-Face

Online and face-to-face therapy options allow more people to access mental healthcare than ever before. Whether virtual or in person, you can find the type of support that works best for you.

Online therapy offers the ability to connect with a therapist from the comfort of your own home. Face-to-face therapy allows you to bring your mental health needs to a supportive yet neutral space.

In addition to making sure a therapist can support your needs, in-person therapy may require some extra work. Does commuting to a therapist's office fit your schedule? Can your schedule remain flexible to accommodate your therapist's in-person availability?

Online therapy may require that you investigate the privacy policies on video and messaging platforms to secure your information. Encryption services provide security for your communications, but therapists may use a variety of platforms offering different levels of security.

Once you determine which type of therapy seems right for you, you can use the options below to get started.

How to Find Help

Your mental health needs should guide your selection of therapy options. Consider making your own list of pros and cons to help guide your thinking. Explore some of the resources below to find the right one for your needs.

Resources for Finding Therapy

Open Path Collective

This site offers in-person and online therapy options for those needing financial support.GoodTherapy

Find therapists, mental health centers, and other treatment options through a directory of licensed professionals.NeedyMeds Low-Cost Mental Health Clinics

Search for free, low-cost, and sliding-scale medical clinics with therapists who support individuals with mental health, substance use, and other healthcare needs.Better Help Online Therapy Network

Licensed therapists are available for virtual therapy mental health support.Give an Hour

Volunteer mental health professionals offer free services to military veterans, people affected by natural disasters, and those affected by COVID-19.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Search a database of mental health providers treating substance use issues and mental health needs.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Government-funded health centers provide low-cost therapy options for patients with and without insurance.Allwell Behavioral Health Services

Telehealth options are available for emergency care, ongoing therapy, and additional support services.Psychology Today Therapist Search

Find a therapist offering online and in-person therapeutic support across the country.

This article was supplied by Psychology.org.

How to talk about transgender issues

So how do we talk about transgender issues (even if you're not transgender)? There are three main things to remember when discussing transgender issues today, so before getting into the meat and potatoes of it all, let's keep these things in mind:

  1. It is not a political discussion, it is a human rights discussion.
  2. There is a rich history rooted in transgender rights that must be considered when discussing these issues.
  3. Humanization should always be at the forefront of the conversation.

Before going into any conversation, no matter who it's with, try to keep these things in mind before you say something that may be inappropriate, misguided, or just plain wrong. Even those with the best intentions can mess up; remember that it is always ok to admit when you do not know something or when you are wrong. That being said, let's get into it.

sign with a 'friendly for all genders' image showing a person in a wheelchair, and a person with half a dress and pants on.

Transgender bathroom bills

commons.wikimedia.org

So whether you choose to become a transgender activist or if you just want to be a better ally, this easy talking point will generally keep you in line and on the safe side of conversations while still putting forth the effort to encourage and better represent transgender rights.

Easy, all-around approach: This will work for almost all transgender issues and expand on the previous three rules; firstly, trans issues are not a debate. When discussing with someone, do not indulge in hypotheticals and always remember that transgender people are the exact same as anyone else, with the exact same feelings. Keeping this in mind, let's use the bathroom bill as an example. When discussing this issue, one should humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation. How does one employ this, though? Here is an example of how the conversation may go.

Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restroom, they will rape my daughters.

So this statement is clearly based on reactionary conversation perpetuated by anti-transgender ideals. This means that the person probably has a misconception of the history and oppression of transgender people. They also show concern for their family, which is a step towards humanization, despite the misconception. Here would be an appropriate response that helps to humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation.

Person 2: I don't want men in the women's restroom, either, which is why we need to make sure people who identify as women are using the women's restroom. There has never been a documented case where a transgender person has raped either a man or woman in a public restroom. And by forcing people to use a restroom that does not match their gender identity, it is promoting violence, as there is a strong history of physical violence against transgender people.

By only saying about three sentences, you are able to do the previous steps while discussing the issue in a civil manner without opening it up to debate. The key to this is to keep it short and sweet, stating both the truth and an ally's stance to support the transgender community. It's critical to make sure that what you say is backed with confidence, though, which is why this second approach is more encouraged as it gives the person speaking more confidence in their opinion.

gif of a man in a suit talking about number 1. Number 1 GIF by PragerU Giphy

The second approach: backed by facts and history, is the exact same as before, but this approach leaves the other person with more questions about their stance and gives them something to consider. Before going into this approach, however, it is important to keep in mind that you are not debating the existence of trans people, nor are you trying to change someone's mind. That is not the goal; the goal is simply to get your opinion across in a way that honors both the trans community and their ideas. Let's take the same example as before but add the new sentiments.

Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restrooms, they will rape my daughters.

Person 2: There has never been a documented case of a transgender person raping anyone in a public restroom, and the only published cases of such were proven to be false. Further, when people say things like this, they are perpetuating violence against transgender people, which has historically (and still does) oppressed and insight further physical violence against them. And honestly, the most common reason there is this stance is because the person typically does not know a trans person and may not even know a person who does know a trans person. But the truth is, they probably do. The probability is more likely that the transgender people around them are just not comfortable enough in the environment to come out and speak up about their gender identity. And yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it is quite sad that some people's opinion does not invite civil discussion but instead incites violence.

This approach is more confrontational, which requires more confidence when using it in a conversation, but it still holds true to all of the previous rules and sentiments. It adds truth based on history, which is an important aspect of trans rights as it reminds people of where we were/ where we are currently with human rights. These ideas can be transferred to most all trans issues and will honor the transgender movement and your allyship. The last thing to keep in mind is the person or reason you are standing up for/with trans rights. The passion -the compassion will shine through in conversation if you keep your reasoning close to heart. Whether it is because of a transgender friend, family member, or just because of your moral values, if you put your emotions into your reasoning, it will create more compelling statements, especially if the statement is well versed with the facts.

Tips to Remember When Discussing Transgender Issues

  1. Transgender issues are not political, they are human rights issues
  2. There is a rich history behind transgender issues
  3. Humanize transgender people through our words and ideas and don't forget to include:
    • 3(b). The facts
    • 3(c).The confidence
    • 3(d). The inspiration behind the support for transgender rights

Transgender Sign in Pride Parade



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