Long gone are the days when one would lie down on the psychologist’s chair and regale them with our problems. In recent years, other forms of therapy seem to have been taking over, given the benefits they provide in terms of effectiveness, affordability, and pragmatism for our busy lives.
After the phone was invented and consumerized, it didn’t take much time before psychologists started using this new medium of communication to conduct their practice “through the cable.” Nowadays, we are seeing an increasing trend in the use of online psychologists, given the several benefits that this method brings. Another interesting development we’re seeing in the field, is the use of Artificial Intelligence to help people with their mental problems.
Today, we will look at how telepsychology and online psychology made therapy more time-efficient and affordable – especially in high-cost countries like Switzerland, Norway, and Austria – and the possibilities that AI is bringing to the table.
Telepsychology Puts Therapy Right Into Patients’ Hands
Telepsychology is a form of psychotherapy that is done over the phone. It usually involves a patient and a psychologist, but there can be more than one person on each end of the line. The use of telepsychology has been on the rise in recent years. This can be attributed to its accessibility for people who live in rural areas or who find it difficult to travel to see a therapist. For those who live in cities, it can take 45 minutes just to travel a few miles – and that’s just one way. Spending 90 extra minutes (apart from the therapy session itself) is time that most busy city people simply don’t have.
Telepsychology also provides lower-cost sessions for patients or their insurance company, while still providing an opportunity for the therapist to get paid enough to make it worth their time. Another benefit is that some telepsychologists offer recorded video sessions, which are an excellent way for people with social anxiety disorders to get help without feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable around someone they don’t know well yet.
The next step in the development of therapy services that emerged from telepsychology is online psychology.
Online Psychologists Are Taking Over Traditional Practice
The increasing demand for online psychology is partially due to the lack of availability of qualified professionals. It can also be due to the increasing need for psychological help. The demand has grown so much that it is difficult for traditional therapists to keep up with the number of people who are asking for help.
Online psychology is proving to be a great way of providing support and care to patients living in remote areas, who cannot access care in a timely manner. This has also proven advantageous for people who cannot access therapy services because they live in countries where mental health resources are limited and/or expensive (e.g., Austria, Norway Switzerland).
Norway is one of the countries with the most expensive therapy services, but the psychologist company Onlinepsykologene seems to be remedying this by providing more affordable therapy online. In some instances, it has proven to be half the cost of traditional therapeutic services in a physical location. These benefits are akin to many of the online therapists in the rest of Europe, and do not appear to affect the quality of the therapy that is given; on the contrary, people are surprised by how much easier it is to ask for help for their mental problems when they only have to talk to someone on the screen, instead of being in the same room as them – an experience that might be frightening to some.
As seen above, telepsychology and online psychology have made it both more affordable and time-efficient for people to go to therapy.
Artificial Intelligence Also Wants to Help
Artificial Intelligence is another big thing that’s impacting the psychology industry these days, by providing a new avenue for research and treatment. The use of AI in the psychological field is still only taking off, but it has been proven revolutionary for those suffering from mental health problems.
AI can, for example, be used as an automated therapist that provides guidance and support as soon as it recognizes a problem through conversation or voice input. Facebook, for instance, is using AI as a tool to help people with mental health problems. It has been programmed to detect posts that may indicate suicidal thoughts and send those users messages of support. AI can also help monitor posts and comments, analyze trends and highlight people at risk.
Furthermore, AI offers a more objective approach to psychotherapy by helping patients understand their cognitive biases and tendencies to rationalize, which can lead to less need for medication and more insight into how they perceive themselves.
In conclusion, the developments we have seen in telepsychology, online psychology, and AI, are revolutionizing the psychology industry by making therapy more effective, affordable, and practical for our busy lives. As the possibilities with these technologies keep progressing – particularly AI – it will be intriguing to see where the field of therapy will go.