Psychotherapists are embracing teletherapy for the simple reason that they have no alternative.
In mid-March, office psychotherapy started to rapidly decline. Teletherapy began increasing at the same time though it has not grown enough to make up for all the office sessions lost.
The rapid adoption of teletherapy raises the question: How well clients accept this modality?
To answer this, we looked at engagement rates (defined as a follow-up visit within 30 days of intake) for office and online therapy.
The difference between the office follow up rate at 80% and teletherapy rate at 90% is significant at the .001 confidence level.
Therapists using televideo technology that was new to most, achieved engagement rates that clearly surpass the rates for office therapy.
Overall, our results indicate that:
–Teletherapy is ecologically valid, i.e. it works in the real world and is a good alternative to office-based therapy.
–Adoption of teletherapy is relatively easy for clinicians and patients.
As the coronavirus threat wanes, office-based practice will return. But psychotherapy is not likely to go back to an almost entirely office-based service. Patients and therapists will benefit from the convenience and economies of online care.