Depression is a mental illness; like physical illnesses, it’s not something a person can control. Making matters more complicated, there is no cure for depression, and there may never be a cure for depression. But this is no reason to lose hope; there are many ways that you can successfully manage your depression symptoms and live a normal, healthy life in spite of that illness.
One of the best resources in pursuit of controlling your depression is online therapy, but why is online therapy so valuable?
The Value of Therapy in Treating Depression
Any kind of professional therapy, including both in-person and online therapy, is capable of helping you with your depression – and probably in several ways.
· Cognitive and emotional understanding. Talking to a therapist is one of the best ways to gain better cognitive and emotional understanding. In other words, this is your opportunity to better understand how your brain works and how it’s making you think and feel in these specific patterns. For example, you might feel like you no longer enjoy anything, but your therapist may help you understand the root causes of this perception and help you address those root causes so you can get back to enjoying the things you’ve always loved.
· Support and bonding. While it would be unprofessional for a therapist to form a genuine friendship with you, there is a level of real bonding that happens between a therapist and a patient. Attending regular therapy sessions gives you access to personal support and allows you to develop a bond over time. With enough sessions, you’ll come to look forward to your exchanges, and those exchanges will help you feel better about whatever’s going on in your life.
· Goal setting and high-level guidance. Therapists usually guide patients in the process of setting goals and establishing high-level systems. For example, you may feel reluctant to leave your house when you start therapy. But with the help of a therapist, you can set small, actionable goals that guide you to better lifestyle habits.
· Coping strategies. With the help of a therapist, you can learn new coping strategies that help you process and get past the worst feelings that drag you down. If you’ve ever been in the position of not wanting to get out of bed or feeling too depressed even to shower, you should know that the right coping strategies can help you move past these obstacles in many cases.
· Symptom improvement strategies. There are many ways to alleviate depression symptoms in your everyday life. You can exercise, you can socialize with people you like, you can clean your house, and you can focus on achieving specific goals that are meaningful to you. Your therapist can introduce you to these symptom-improvement strategies and guide you as you integrate them into your life.
· A personalized approach. Perhaps most importantly, your therapist is going to work with you to find the right approach for your needs. There are many different types of therapy available and many different medications available to those who need them. Your therapist can help you find the best system for your needs.
The Unique Perks of Online Therapy
So why should you consider online therapy over in-person therapy?
These are just some of the many benefits:
· Freedom and flexibility. Many people appreciate the freedom and flexibility that online therapy offers. You’ll have much more flexibility with scheduling and setting, so you can optimize your therapy patterns to your liking.
· Time savings. Online therapy has the potential to save you time. You won’t have to drive back and forth to a physical office, and the processes for things like check-in are much simpler. If you’re already struggling to fit everything into your schedule, this is a huge benefit.
· Privacy. Attending online therapy gives you access to more privacy. You won’t have to sit in a waiting room with a dozen other people, nor will you run the risk of running into people you know on the street as you walk to the building. Instead, you can enjoy online therapy from the comfort of your own home.
· Comfort. There’s a case to be made that online therapy is better than in-person therapy if for no other reason than patients are usually more comfortable in a home or familiar environment. Instead of trying to acclimate to someone else’s sterile office, you can sit on your couch or your bed – and you can even wear pajamas if you want.
· Options. Finally, you should understand that online therapy gives you more options. Since you don’t need to be in physical proximity to your therapist, you’ll have hundreds or even thousands of online therapists to choose from.
What If Therapy Isn’t Enough?
While therapy has the potential to help millions of people, and most people benefit from attending therapy, it’s simply not true that therapy is a universal solution for every conceivable mental health problem. Still, therapy is almost always the best starting point, as your therapist can help evaluate the effectiveness of your therapy sessions and potentially guide you to more intensive, more effective solutions.
Attending online therapy sessions isn’t going to make your depression go away immediately. But it does have the potential to treat your depression and help you feel better. It may not be easy and may take time, but it’s worth it in the long run.