Online therapy is a new way to deliver licensed therapy to clients wherever they may be in the world. This means that traditional (or alternative) forms of therapy are delivered over text messages, phone calls, or video calls. Because the only difference is the mode of communication, online therapy has all of the branches that traditional therapy has: couples, trauma, addiction, LGBTQ, and so on.
Couples therapy more specifically is a way for couples (or just one person in that relationship) to seek professional help. A therapist is an objective third party, meaning they can assess situations with less bias than friends and family.
Furthermore, they’re trained and licensed to help identify negative behaviors and work through challenges. Their job is to help you understand your relationship better and learn how to communicate with each other in a healthier way.
When looking for the best couples therapy sites, consider reputation, cost, and if it’s specialized towards virtual marriage counseling. Never use a website that does not use licensed therapists.
Is online couples therapy effective?
To answer this, we need to break it down into two parts. Is couples therapy an effective form of therapy, and can therapy be conducted online as effectively as it is face-to-face?
Regarding couples therapy, an astonishing 97% of couples claim that they got the help they needed when they turned to couples therapy, with 93% saying that therapy helped equip them with strategic tools that improved the way they tackle relationship conflict. This is a common discovery whenever it’s surveyed, which suggests that couples therapy is profoundly useful and, for most, well worth the money.
Regarding online therapy as the way in which you receive couples therapy, study after study shows that online sessions are in no way inferior to traditional face-to-face sessions. And, when looking at couples therapy delivered online – which ultimately asks if online couples therapy is effective as a service – the results show promising signs and unique advantages, particularly in overcoming time, financial, and geographical issues.
One issue that often arises when considering couples therapy is that one party is not willing to go to sessions. In this instance, research shows that couples therapy remains effective even when only one of the two is involved in the sessions.
Pros of online couples therapy
There are many, many reasons why people seek virtual couples therapy. Below is a round-up of the key benefits.
- Have an attentive and impartial sounding board
- Better understand your relationship dynamics
- Learn communication tools that can better help resolve conflict
- Online delivery is cheaper and more accessible for those in rural areas or with mobility issues
- Having a safe space for you both to express yourself
- Help restore trust and save a marriage
- Learn tools that can help beyond the relationship, in your career and personal life
Cons of online couples therapy
Online couples therapy isn’t perfect. Below are the major drawbacks and limitations of virtual couples therapy.
- Whilst cheaper than traditional therapy, it is still expensive and not always covered by insurance
- Virtual sessions may be harder to read body language and could be less intimate
- Disruptions are more likely because of the remote setting (i.e. children walking in, Wi-Fi issues)
- Issues are brought up that may make the immediate relationship more challenging
Alternative ways to improve a relationship
If online couples therapy is not an option right now, below are some alternative ways to help improve a relationship.
Make a habit of talking regularly
As we know from the therapy techniques, communication is key. It’s a good idea to set some time aside regularly that is dedicated purely to your relationship. This can mean you stop hashing everything out in the heat of an argument, knowing you will soon have that time to talk once the dust settles. Just knowing you will have a chance to talk later that day can prevent arguments, and of course, provide a space in which you can hear each other out.
Relationship books can often describe therapy techniques in bite-sized, easy-to-read ways. Be picky about which one you read, and it’s also a good idea to get your partner involved too. If you’re both reading the same ideas, you will be ‘on the same page’ when it comes to putting those words of advice into action.
If you’re feeling like you’re losing that spark in your relationship, it’s important to continue dating. 1, 5, or 50 years into a relationship, you should still go on date nights. Bowling, dinner, whatever it may be, you need some time together to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company with zero distraction. Book a babysitter, turn off your emails, and have a few hours to yourself.
An extension of the previous point is to go on vacation together. This isn’t necessary, nor is it the first and only way to help a relationship, but it can be a great way to reconnect much like a date night can. This can be a good way to show your partner that they come before work and daily life responsibilities.
As the research shows, both couples therapy and online therapy work. Online couples therapy is the most affordable way to receive therapy, with many options out there competing on price alone.
If you live in a remote area, have mobility issues, or have a tight budget or schedule, online therapy is a great solution. Traditional couples therapy is of course a useful tool too, assuming it fits within your lifestyle. And, if your partner isn’t on-board with couples therapy, don’t let it stop you. Go anyway, because even if only one-half of the relationship improves their communication skills, relationships can still be improved.
When therapy isn’t an option, you can greatly improve a relationship simply by paying more attention to each other. Listen to each other’s concerns, feelings, and give them full attention frequently through date nights and regular talking.