Does Video-Based Therapy Work?


A person is having a video call with a man on the screen of his laptop computer.
Online counselling can provide a calming environment for clients says Andrew Macdonald

Online counselling can provide a calming environment for clients by letting them talk things out in a space where they feel most comfortable.

WORDS Andrew Macdonald

I need to overt my bias here and share that I work both in an agency providing in-person appointments and also run a private practice that is purely video-based.

Being based in Victoria, most folks would know that we are not just famous for the AFL Grand Final, we are also known for having had some of the strictest COVID lockdowns in the world.

Imagine a full client caseload, all seeing me in-person suddenly having to shift to video-based appointments.

87% of my clients stated that their therapy was more effective once we shifted to video sessions. This got me wondering why.

Let’s take Alice, they reported experiencing anxiety and panic attacks and sought counselling to help better manage their mental health.

Alice would turn up to our in-person appointments stressed, anxious and struggling to feel grounded.

In our first video appointment, it was like I was meeting a different human.

They were calm, soothed and sitting crossed legged on their bed.

I raised the significant difference in their demeanour, and they angled their laptop down to show me their dog on their lap.

I think Alice’s story opens up the discussion about bringing supports into our own spaces rather than us having to go to them.

Imagine the struggle to find parking, the awkwardness in the waiting room versus you in your track pants, in your favourite chair with your comfy blanket.

Another factor that video appointments provide is that it can increase accessibility and safety.

I see clients who park in their cars away from their relationships so they can have support.

Additionally, it works for folks in regional and remote areas who can’t make the 3-hour journey for an appointment.

I agree it is not for everyone, but there’s something about those COVID lockdowns that made many of us more comfortable with remote video-based health supports.

Andrew Macdonald is a clinical psychotherapist and counsellor providing video-based sessions Australia-wide.

Visit www.jeffersonplace.com.au to book an appointment.

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Andrew Macdonald

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