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  • Sara

How Virtual Therapy can Benefit Those with Anxiety

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

The rise of the COVID pandemic brought many new things to the world. While there were many scary changes, one that had a positive effect on many was the popularization of virtual therapy.

Virtual therapy is a growing field that offers many benefits for both therapists and clients. Meeting online, clients can receive help from the comfort of their own homes, and therapists can reach a larger number of people who may otherwise not have access, including those in under-served populations, those with childcare and transportation issue, and those living in rural areas. It may come at a surprise that online therapy has always existed. We just didn't witness a boom in this form of connection until the pandemic and the relaxation of guidelines as well as acceptance by insurance carriers. Now, it seems that virtual care is here to stay. It has helped many people managed their symptoms during especially difficult times, including through the grieving process of losing loved ones to the virus. There are many mental health conditions that can benefit from expanded online resources. Not only can virtual therapy help with depressive disorders, trauma, and acute stress, but it can be extremely useful for those living with anxiety disorders.

There are many different types of clinical anxiety disorders. These include: Generalized anxiety disorder: This disorder is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a wide range of topics and activities. People with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, may experience symptoms such as muscle tension, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and fatigue. Panic disorder: This disorder is characterized by sudden and unexpected episodes of intense fear, often accompanied by physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Panic disorder can be very debilitating, and people with this condition often avoid situations that trigger their anxiety. Social anxiety disorder: This disorder is characterized by intense anxiety and self-consciousness in social situations. People with social anxiety disorder may avoid situations such as parties, work events, and public speaking. Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include sweating, rapid heart rate, difficulty speaking, and shaking. Specific phobias: A specific phobia is an intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights, animals, or flying. People with specific phobias may go to great lengths to avoid their triggers, and the anxiety they experience can be very debilitating.

The Benefits of Virtual Therapy for Anxiety (and Other Mental Health Conditions

Virtual therapy has many benefits, one of them being its accessibility. It can be accessed from anywhere, on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, personal computer, etc. The majority of people have some sort of device with internet access, and to attend virtual therapy this is all you need. Being able to access help from anywhere can make it easier for those with anxiety. Anxiety can cause you to not want to leave your house, or even your bed. Accessing it from home can make people feel more comfortable than having to physically attend. While most online therapy services are not free, the majority are covered by insurance, and providers tend to offer low cash fees, sliding scales and payment plans to accommodate clients. Another way virtual therapy benefits those with anxiety is flexibility. Some people may not be able to find transportation to go to therapy or feel like they have the time to go. Busy parents with young children may find it impossible to retain care for only an hour so they can go in-person. The session length is also pushing it for most people's lunch breaks.

You also have more control over when you schedule your appointment. You often can do it straight from your phone or from the provider's website. Adding more things to do to your already busy schedule can seem counter-intuitive, but remember that mental health is an integral part of your overall well-being and it can be life-changing to schedule an appointment.

Finally, virtual therapy is just as beneficial as going to in-person therapy. Some people may not believe laying in bed doing a therapy session has the same benefits as physically leaving your home to go to your appointment, but the same level of care and attention can be provided. As long as you are sticking to a therapy routine, practicing your coping mechanisms, and opening up to your therapist you can make the same progress you would with in-person therapy.

Finding what works for you is the most important step to manage your anxiety, and virtual anxiety might be the answer! If you're still unsure, schedule an intake session to determine whether this is the right format for you. Just as you can change therapists at any point if you feel uncomfortable with yours, you can change the format, too, at any time. Give it a shot and if you still prefer to go in-person, then at least you've gotten an additional detail about what you're looking for in your treatment.


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