How Online Therapy Works For Mental Health

online therapy for mental health

The recognition and appreciation of psychotherapy have grown every year. This is a global trend. Fortunately, the topic of mental health is being increasingly discussed and, with this, the importance of the psychologist in this field is consolidated.

Accompanying this movement, we also see the accelerated growth of the internet and technologies. How do these two areas meet? In practice, we have just undergone a significant change in the way online therapy is conceived by the body that regulates the profession of psychologists.

Want to know more about it? In this post, we explain what this form of service is, what its advantages are, and what standards the professional needs to follow.

What Is Online Therapy?

In this type of service, the psychologist has a new place of work: the face-to-face meeting at the clinic gives way to his virtual presence in an online therapy communication program or application. That is, the patient is seen at a distance and speaks to his therapist through the computer or cell phone.

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With the world becoming more and more technological, online therapy offers a good opportunity. It is attractive, especially for people who need to change cities (or even countries) and do not want to lose their connection with the health professional who serves them.

Also, virtual assistance is very useful for those who live in smaller locations, which do not have a good network of psychologists. In large cities, it is already easy to find professionals to provide this service, however, in cities in the interior or even in less developed states, this becomes more rare and difficult.

Internet access, through computers or cell phones, is already a reality for most of the world population. Thus, integrating Psychology into these platforms greatly enhances the promotion of mental health. The calls are usually made by video, with the support of e-mails or chats.

Infographic On Online Therapy

online therapy for psychologist

What Are The Advantages Of This Online Therapy?

We cannot say that online therapy is better or worse than in face-to-face sessions. They are different modalities, which have positive points and limitations. In general, online therapy is very useful in very specific situations, like the ones we have already mentioned here.

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There are also other contexts in which technology assists in the maintenance and recovery of mental health. For example, when someone is experiencing a high degree of disorders. It can be very difficult to leave the house and adhere to psychological treatment, such as depression or panic syndrome. Online therapy in such cases welcomes the patient to his/her needs.

Another group benefiting from this option are people who have difficulty moving. A woman who has just had a baby or people who are hospitalized, for example, may find it very useful to be attended to by the computer. Therefore, working with this service is a differential for the psychologist’s career.

Preventing the breaking of an already established link is also a function of distance calls. Imagine that you have been in therapy for some time and that it has great importance in your life. What would it be like if you or your psychologist needed to move to another city? Looking for another professional and building a new relationship is not always easy.

For those who choose to live in another country, whether permanently or temporarily, having online therapy services is a way to stay at home. Therapy with someone who does not speak the same mother tongue can become complicated and even a little impersonal process.

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After all these examples, it is clear that this type of Psychology has the objective of expanding people’s access to psychological health services. However, there are also limitations. Therefore, there are some rules and care that the professional must have to ensure a good therapeutic process for the patient.

What Are The Rules Of The Federal Council Of Psychology (CFP)?

The CFP is the regulatory body for the profession of psychologists in our country. Each state also has a regional reference council. The resolution that guided the online therapy service was 11/2012, which was recently replaced by 11/2018.

The change aims to consider all the evolution that the theme went from 2012 to 2018. The advance of the internet is undeniable, and the various professions need to consider it as a relevant influence on their work. See the new rules for online therapy:

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  1. Elimination Of Session Limit

Previously, the psychologist could only offer a maximum number of 20 sessions at a distance, because the orientation of the Federal Council of Psychology is that this could not be the only means of contact between the patient and the professional.

The internet should only be used as a complement to face-to-face sessions, when necessary. Thus, it was valid when the patient traveled, for example, but could not become a regular. With the new rule, that changed. As of 2018, there are no longer maximum service limits.

  1. Regulation Of Online Therapy Service

Until 2012, psychotherapeutic care over the internet was not allowed. The CFP used the term “psychological guidance” to mark the difference between this service and face-to-face therapy.

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Online therapy only occasional cases with limited demand would be attended – a type of brief focal psychotherapy. With the new resolution, this divergence was eliminated. That is, all therapy can be performed through online therapy platforms, including the application of some tests. Thus, it resembles the face-to-face modality.

  1. Need For Authorization And Annual Registration With The CRP

To work online, psychologists or clinics and service platforms need to register with the regional council that serves their region. Only through this regularization (which must be updated annually) are they allowed to offer their virtual service.

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Each regional council will present its authorization criteria, according to ethical and administrative aspects. Patients who want to be sure that the psychologist is legal can search for information on the Council website.

The medical information provided in this article is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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