The physical presence of a therapist during sessions may seem to have an impact on the efficacy of care to some, but others have long suspected that it is the exploratory and healing work itself that is responsible for a great deal of the basis of recovery, along with the client’s effort and will. As a growing number of people are seeking therapeutic treatment for a wide variety of issues, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, some professionals are wondering whether difficulties in providing in-person treatment might be aided by the use of long-distance care. Videoconferencing is among the new techniques being considered, and a recent study conducted by the Office of Veterans’ Affairs has shed a positive light on the medium.
The study involved a number of military personnel following their return home from war, and placed some in traditional in-person group therapy programs, while others were randomly directed into groups in which the therapist was connected via a monitor. The researchers noted that they took reasonable measures to ensure that both types of treatment were conducted in the same manner save for the manifestation of the presence of the therapist.
After a period of six months’ worth of treatment, the team found no significant difference in efficacy between the two groups, leading to the conclusion that videoconferencing may be a legitimate and worthwhile way to deliver care in rural areas or when the demand for professionals outweighs immediate availability. While the study focused on clients who were faced with anger-related psychological issues, the researchers suspect that videoconferencing may be effective for a wide range of difficulties, and encourage further investigation into its potential for addressing some of the most pressing concerns in modern therapy and access to services.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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