Monday, 21 November 2011

Hypnotherapy Online Via Skype Vs Traditional Appointment

For better or worse we now live as a part of one globalised community. You do not need to live in the same street, the same town or even the same country to be in face-to-face contact with someone any more, and thanks to computer programs like 'Skype' or ‘Oovoo’ this wonderful technology is available to each of us absolutely free. To use Skype you simply need a computer (or Smartphone) with a web cam and a microphone, and from there you can connect with anyone across the globe LIVE, their video and sound streamed to your computer, and yours streamed to them vice-versa, mimicking almost exactly an interaction with someone in the same room as you.

This futuristic technology not only allows friends and family to be in real contact no matter the distance they are apart, it also allows business meetings to function and lectures to be given when colleagues, students and teachers are thousands of miles away from one another. In recent years online therapy (E-therapy) has started to take place across the globe, with online hypnotherapy not far behind the innovation. Many hypnotherapists worldwide are now utilising the World Wide Web and its modern functionality to expand their businesses, allowing themselves to connect with a far broader spectrum of clients. But not everyone agrees to this new phenomenon, with traditionalists claiming real time face-to-face therapy can never be replaced.  

So what are the benefits of having an online hypnotherapy session as oppose to a traditional walk in appointment?

  • The session can be done from the comfort and convenience of your own home
  • Feel secure and relaxed in a place you are familiar with, if you want to do the session in your favourite chair with your favourite incense burning next to you – you can!
  • Usually after hypnosis you feel very relaxed, ordinarily you would have to walk back out onto the street or get into your car – whereas at home you could take a long bath or lie down for as long as you want to
  • Time effective – no time wasted in waiting rooms/travel to and from
  • No travel expenses/parking fees
  • Accessibility – no matter where you live in the world access is the same, or for that matter if you have mobility difficulties or constraints leaving your home for any reason.
  • Flexible service and hours, easy to make appointments outside office hours or unsociable hours.
  • Online sessions are often cheaper than ordinary appointments
  • Encoded video links mean the sessions stay confidential
  • A wider choice of hypnotherapists available at a touch of a button
The journal Psychiatric Services, conducted a 2000 study that revealed patients receiving treatment through video conferencing reported ‘high levels of satisfaction’. Another article in Newsweek in 2006 stated that some people might actually benefit from online therapy, especially those who do not feel comfortable with traditional person-to-person contact. Alleman’s (2002) study claimed that the anonymity of online therapy allows the client to express themselves more freely and securely than they would ‘in person’ therefore allowing the session to be more effective.
So why the negative toward online therapies from some quarters?
  • Some people will tell you there is nothing like having a ‘real life’ interaction with their therapist/client that cannot be replaced online (many of the arguments read in this category concern therapy without the use of live video stream).
  • Hypnosis online, and therapy online in general, is not suitable for people with serious psychological conditions mainly because the therapist is not on hand to deal with a crisis situation, for example suicide or self-harm.  
  • Unfortunately online there is always the heightened risk of unlicensed practitioners offering their services.
  • Online there is less legal protection for the client due to the various different laws that govern individual countries that could cause problems with a global grievance.
  • The laws regarding therapy are clear in one country, or state, to the next. But online laws are far less clear and this can cause confusion on the global circuit.
  • Equipment Failure. Even the best computers can break down for a host of reasons, and the same goes for internet connection or power cuts.

It is up to the reader to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons. I believe that the criticisms stated above should be taken seriously before proceeding in making contact with an online therapist, as well as basic common sense being taken into consideration.

If your problem is something that is putting you or others in direct danger you should seek the in person guidance of a mental health practitioner near to where you live immediately. Check the credentials of the online therapist. Even if they display their certification, if you are worried about the validity of those certificates go ahead and double check with their University or their regulatory body to ensure they have been trained where they say they have been trained. If you are seeing a certified expert in the field then there is a far smaller chance of problems being caused by their therapy sessions. If you are worried about breaking the law in your region, do some research and see what the literature says – but the chances are you will find that there is nothing illegal in taking an online hypnotherapy session.

Technical failure is a possibility, but as technology advances there are less problems with computers or power cuts and I for one can’t remember my current computer breaking down once in the two years I have been using it. A good hypnotherapist will advise what to do in the event of a technical issue, so if one does occur there will be no adverse effects from the session, you would simple stir out of hypnosis until the technical issue is resolved, and then go back into hypnosis once it starts up again.

I think that the way society is headed hand in hand with technology, online therapy is the future of the practice. The internet is playing a bigger and bigger role in people’s everyday life from shopping, keeping in contact with friends and family, work, school, entertainment – why should health matters be any different? The better computers and Smartphones get the greater the quality of video and sound will become meaning this ‘virtual’ interaction will be even more realistic and commonplace. Traditionalists in every field do not like change because it upsets the environment they know so well, and who can blame them for that, but looking at the list of advantages it is hard to dismiss online hypnotherapy. The online platform makes it accessible to far more people worldwide in a format that more and more people are most comfortable with, while in the same breath being more time and cost effective. Hypnotherapy has existed successfully for quite some time in the form of audio recordings, so I see no reason why it's effectiveness should be exclusive to in-person appointments. Perhaps the main drawback would be a persons reluctance to engage in computer based interaction, but once those barriers are knocked down through trial and experience I feel certain the individual will appreciate the ease and convenience of the online format.


Greg said...

(this comment came to my email address)

I was impressed with how well written the article, "Hypnotherapy Online via Skype vs Traditional Appointment" was presented. It was objective, presenting both pros and cons to working online vs in-office sessions. As a professional holistic counselor of many years myself, working both by phone and in-office, it has given me much to think about. For some time, I have offered the video feature availability to clients--without any takers. The preference for phone only has remained. The consensus among my clients has been that if most of the work is being done with your eyes closed, why does having a video provide any advantages? Personally, I intend to remain open to this new wave of technology fully prepared to follow up with it as the need becomes more evolved, especially since reading this article. Thank you, Greg for your insights and information. Dianne Ruth, PhD,

Reita Faria said...

Skype treatments is all about communicating with the sub-conscious, it is entitely up to a person's unconscious to descide how to move forward after the treatment is done. However, so far changes of some kind have been made with all patients e.g. drinking more water.

Greg said...

I am also a big advocate for drinking plenty of water :)