Why face to face therapy can make a difference.


Sitting at home in your comfortable chair chatting to a professional therapist can have a very beneficial effect on your mental wellbeing but in this post I wanted to look at reasons face to face appointments can, for some people, be a little more effective.

It’s important to note that online therapy has its own set of benefits, such as increased accessibility, flexibility, and the ability to connect with therapists from different geographic locations. The choice between face-to-face and online therapy often depends on individual preferences, comfort levels with technology, and the nature of the therapeutic relationship. Many people find success with either modality, and therapists may offer both options to accommodate their clients’ needs.

But here are some valuable advantages to in person or face to face therapy sessions.

  1. Non-Verbal Cues: Face-to-face therapy allows therapists to observe non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and a clearer impression of the clients tone of voice. These cues can provide valuable information about a person’s emotional state and help the therapist better understand their client.
  2. Personal Connection: Some individuals feel a stronger personal connection in face-to-face interactions. Being in the same physical space can create a sense of intimacy and trust that may be more challenging to achieve in an online setting.
  3. Immediate Presence: In face-to-face sessions, the therapist has the natural ability to be more physically present with their clients, which can create a sense of immediacy and support if the client needs it. This can be especially important in crisis situations or when clients need immediate assistance.
  4. Crisis Management: In situations where a client is in crisis, having a therapist physically present may be crucial for ensuring safety and providing immediate support, this has been shown to be a great comfort in medical emergencies and road incidents too when doctors or paramedics arrive on at the patients side.
  5. Environment Control: In face-to-face therapy, therapists have more control over the environment, minimizing potential distractions and ensuring confidentiality. This control can be more challenging to maintain in online therapy, where clients may be in various locations.
  6. Technology Challenges: Online therapy may be less effective for individuals who are not comfortable with technology or have limited access to a stable internet connection. Technical issues can interrupt the flow of the session and be a source of frustration.
  7. Therapeutic Alliance: Some therapists believe that the therapeutic alliance, the relationship between the therapist and client, is stronger and more easily developed in face-to-face interactions.
  8. In my own opinion, we are a species that developed to be around other people, to be part of a community. We gain comfort by being in the presence of someone who is listening to us and who is empathic to our needs at that time. As one example of this, in Holland some nursing homes have set up fake streets, with butchers, newsagents, post offices and banks etc. and have found that the health of the patients has increased significantly both physically, mentally and emotionally by the little interactions they have with the (albeit fake) staff they chat to going about their business. I think that is just one example of how important human, in person interactions can be. They didn’t check to see if the online option worked as well but I have a feeling it would not.


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