In the wake of COVID-19 epidemic, a lot in psychotherapy is now to the internet. Two recent studies take an examination of the extent to which tele therapy and videoconference therapy can help. Are empathy-based therapies able to connect patients with their therapists, despite the distance of the internet? Did psychotherapy change to go online? The results could be shocking for certain.
One study that was that was published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers discovered that patients believed that their psychotherapist was significantly more compassionate and encouraging in a remote environment compared to in person. This is crucial as, based on the kind of psychotherapy, how the client feels at ease with the psychotherapist may be a crucial element in the positive outcomes in the treatment.
“Digital empathy” is described as “traditional empathy traits such as compassion and concern for other people, communicated through computer-mediated communication.” Other digital empathy models have broadened the characteristics associated with “digital empathy”:
- Ability to evaluate and analyze the internal state of another (empathy precision)
- A feeling that you have self-identity as well as agency (self-empathy)
- Understand, recognize and anticipate other’s thoughts and feelings (cognitive empathy)
- Feel what other people experience (affective empathy)
- Role play (imaginative empathy)
- Show compassion to other people (empathic concern) through the use of online media
Another study in 2021 confirms group psychotherapy is going to be carried out with success nearly. In reality there were some clients who found remote group work to be much more beneficial than individual therapy, however this isn’t true for everyone.
The study analyzes online therapy sessions conducted through Skype or WhatsApp videos. The majority of the participants used laptops and desktops while the rest employing a combination of smartphones or tablets. Nearly 90% of therapists utilized computers.
The study found that therapists believed they could provide the same level of empathy regardless of whether they were in person or online. The patients were pleasantly surprised to feel more connected and assisted by their therapists in a virtual environment as compared to when they met in person. The findings are based on prior therapies research done prior to the pandemic and showed that empathy could extend beyond virtual boundaries and prove efficient in the virtual world of psychotherapy.
The research raises the notion that personal desires and self-selection may have much to do with the degree of comfort people have with teletherapy and digital psychotherapy and positive results from treatment. People who respond well to digital settings could be who are already comfortable with video conferencing and are able to feeling comfortable and having privacy at home. This is also true for therapists. Studies have revealed that therapists who feel most comfortable and effective in offering digital psychotherapy had typically previously provided it before prior to the outbreak.
Psychotherapy has been successfully transferred online for many people despite the limitations of technology like sound delays, the issue of perceiving micro-expressions. Customers should feel at ease in determining whether online therapy is a good fit to their requirements.
It’s likely that lots of clients and therapists will choose to stay on the internet due to the positive outcomes and ability of digital empathy. This will be in addition to the convenience of scheduling more time for commutes and the capability to converse without masks. The best part is that digital psychotherapy can be provided in a way that consumers believe is helpful and effective and may even become as a primary system for the delivery of psychotherapy.