If you and your partner are currently searching for new ways to fix old problems in your relationship, know that you are not alone. No relationship is perfect. No relationship is free of conflicts. Nowadays, many couples are turning towards relationship therapy to improve communication and find the underlying causes of their difficulties.
Perhaps you’ve both grown tired of having the same arguments again and again. Sometimes it feels like you’ve made progress, but you somehow wind up in the same loop: you fight, you make up, and a few days or weeks later it’s the same thing. Maybe you’re concerned because you’ve noticed that you’ve grown apart. You have dinner together, but it’s only small talk. You go to bed together, but it feels like there’s no one there. You’re going through a hard time and wondering if a therapist could help.
Virtual health services have become increasingly widespread in the past few years, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has amplified their popularity. At this point, you may be wondering whether online relationship therapy is right for you. In this article, we will explain what to expect during sessions and what are the main benefits.
You’ll find online therapy under a series of different names such as teletherapy, telecounselling, e-therapy or e-counselling. Online therapy is very similar to traditional in-person therapy. The therapists are licenced, have the same level of training, and sessions follow the same structure. The main difference is that, as the name suggests, your conversations will take place online. The studies we have so far indicate that online therapy is just as effective as traditional therapy.
During sessions, your therapist will guide you through exercises aimed at improving your communication strategies. As you learn to listen and talk to each other, you will gain a deeper understanding of your conflict patterns, enhance your intimacy and emotional connection, as well as learn how to navigate and overcome conflicts more effectively.
When we compare traditional therapy to online therapy, we can see that there are some challenges but also quite a few benefits.
The most obvious benefit is convenience. Even if you live in a remote area, you have easy access to a wide range of qualified therapists. You don’t need to commute to the therapist’s office, which makes scheduling a lot easier.
Another benefit is that you’re at home so you’ll feel more comfortable talking. When you start seeing a therapist, the first few sessions are always a bit awkward. Neither of you knows this person well but, at the same time, you want to discuss things that are extremely private. With online therapy, this initial awkwardness is a bit easier to overcome because you’re at home, in a familiar environment.
On the therapist’s side, they have the advantage that they get a deeper understanding of how things are in your household. Most therapists can tell you that home visits give them a lot of insight into how a client’s environment influences their emotional state and behaviour. Through these visits, therapists get a better idea of how to approach sessions.
As we mentioned, during therapy, you’ll spend a lot of time learning communication strategies: how to tell a person how you feel instead of criticising their behaviour, how to open up to each other, how to understand and adapt to each other’s attachment styles.
Since you’ll be doing these exercises at home, it will be easier to translate these skills in “real life” – outside of therapy sessions. Many couples get used to talking to each other in a certain while they’re in the therapist’s office, but once they leave and they’re in “real life” circumstances again, they revert to more familiar patterns.