I started my first full-time job as a therapist in June 2020–not exactly the welcome into the field I was expecting but the beginning of the COVID pandemic definitely kept things interesting. 

Me and my colleagues, who had all been trained to provide therapy in person, had to quickly pivot and figure out how to do all of our sessions remotely. There were a few requests for in person sessions but for the most part clients were open trying phone and videocalls. 

Even when COVID eased up and we started offering in person sessions again, most of my clients still wanted phone appointments. For a lot of people, the idea of meeting in person was nice, but life circumstances made it impractical. 

There was the self-employed client who had phone sessions with me while serving customers, the recently widowed single mother who talked to me while taking care of 3 young kids, the client whose severe agoraphobia made it next to impossible to leave his neighbourhood, and the client receiving social assistance who couldn’t afford the public transit fare to come see me. 

Our services were free for our clients but only short-term and we rarely turned people away; we had to do our best to meet their needs, which meant being flexible. Lots of clients made huge improvements, without us ever meeting. I even had one client tell me they may never have started therapy if they had to do it in person (which was the norm before COVID). 

There are some therapists and administrators who insist that in person services are best, arguing that there is something special about being in the same room with someone that’s just not the same over the phone or a videocall. One therapist I know flatly refused to do anything but in person sessions, insisting they had not been trained to provide therapy remotely and that their methods wouldn’t work this way. 

Personally, I think that the best way to engage in therapy is whatever works best for you! Whatever allows you to get started quickly, feel comfortable to open up, and keep coming back consistently to work on your goals is what will be most effective. There is no single type of therapy in existence that works for everyone so why would there be one mode of delivery that works for everyone?

There is plenty of evidence showing that remote therapy can be just as effective as in person therapy for lots of issues (see this, this, and this), so try whatever feels like the best fit for you and change it up if you need to. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez  on Unsplash

Rachel Ginsberg

Rachel Ginsberg


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