Introduction to Teletherapy for OCD Treatment
OCD treatment can be conducted through online therapy sessions. And it can also be conducted during in-person therapy. However, there are many advantages to online OCD therapy. We will be talking about the benefits of online OCD treatment in this blog. We will also talk about many other aspects to starting teletherapy with an OCD therapist. Read on to learn more!
When people think of treatment for OCD, they often think of two people in the same room, sitting opposite each other. The therapist takes notes as the client talks. While this image is true to many people’s experiences with therapy, therapy does not necessarily have to be done in person.
Virtual or online therapy sessions are done remotely. This means that the patient does not have to be in the same city as their OCD therapist. Virtual therapy has risen in popularity since 2020. As more and more individuals invest in their mental health, online therapy as a mainstream option for treatment for OCD is here to stay! And with very good reason, as we shall discuss.
Benefits and Limitations of Teletherapy for OCD
Online therapy makes therapy accessible and flexible for people who cannot physically go to an office. This may be because individuals are bedridden, work in shifts with irregular schedules, or live in smaller communities with limited mental health resources. Online therapy sessions are also often more convenient. If you are a parent and want to begin Obsessive Compulsive Disorder treatment, you don’t have to be concerned with finding a babysitter so you can leave your home.
If you are a youth or teen and are wanting to attend OCD treatment after school, you don’t have to be concerned with anyone needing to take you to an appointment. Overall, by scheduling online therapy sessions, many barriers that would stop someone who wants therapy from easily accessing it are gone. Without having to pay for gas or transit, you can also schedule appointments around your schedule. Individuals who are working do not have to take as much time away from work. The list is often endless in terms of benefits.
Online therapy has many pros, as it is a convenient, accessible option for many people. But is online therapy as effective as in-person therapy?
The short answer is yes.
A 2020 study, “Psychotherapy at a Distance,” found that online video therapy, primarily for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), has been as effective as in-person therapy. The study found that “remote therapy grants the therapist revealing glimpses of a patient’s home and life.” Interactions with children, pets, roommates and spouses that can be heard or witnessed while the individual is in their own personal space will be more genuine glimpses into that person’s world.
Given its effectiveness and accessibility, there are very few limitations when it comes to virtual therapy sessions. At Forward Thinking Psychological Services, we also offer in-person sessions in the community to complement online therapy treatment. This may involve community exposure therapy for OCD treatment as well as in-home visits.
Teletherapy Techniques and Approaches for OCD Treatment
Of course you want to receive the same tools during treatment for OCD whether it is in person or being conducted through teletherapy! The good news is – you do! When we work with you at Forward Thinking, we deliver evidence-based care for OCD through our online therapy platforms.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an essential intervention used during online therapy sessions for OCD counselling. Adults and teens will learn a number of skills during this approach, including:
- Learning connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviours
- Psychoeducation about OCD and anxiety disorders
- Psychoeducation regarding exposure therapy for OCD
- Planning exposure therapy for OCD with your therapist
- Receiving coaching during exposure therapy in session
- Learn to gain perspective from your core fears that keep your OCD alive
During online therapy sessions for OCD, you will receive coaching from your OCD therapist during sessions in your own home. We often have many triggers within our home environment that we avoid. During a virtual therapy session, you can navigate these triggers with the help of your therapist in session. This is far more powerful than speaking about it with a therapist in their office. Or trying to recreate a scenario in an office setting where the trigger does not exist organically.
At FTPS we use other evidence-based interventions, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, for OCD counselling as well. Strategies learned within this approach include:
- Learning about your values and what you want to do differently in your life without OCD “calling the shots”
- Using present moment awareness to allow intrusive thoughts to come and go and not get hooked in by them
- Learning to defuse from difficult thought and feelings and shift one’s attention things that are important to them
Inference-based CBT for OCD treatment is another evidence-based approach we use. Strategies you will learn include:
- Learning differences between uncertainty, normal doubt and obsessional doubt
- Your obsessional story and how to write alternative stories
- What is inferential confusion and how to recognize it as part of your OCD
- Reality sensing which allows you to use your 5 senses to be aware of what is happening in reality and not in your imagination
- Grounding yourself in the current moment and not letting your imagination take you into a place of ritualizing
- Learning about your feared self and how the OCD “seems” to protect you from these core fears
- Learning about your true self and its importance in not believing in your OCD
- Understanding the OCD bridge and how you often cross over the bridge due to your imagination.
- Learning ways to not crossover into OCD and stay within the moment and not engage in rituals
An amazing aspect of online OCD therapy is the ability to screen share worksheets with your therapist. This allows you to review essential information step-by-step during teletherapy. This is a very effective technique during virtual therapy sessions and facilitates life practice you can then do in-between sessions.
Empirical Evidence: Examining the Effectiveness of Teletherapy for OCD
Of course it is very important to consider whether online therapy is effective for OCD treatment. Is it?
The good news is, yes.
A 2022 study, Online Video Teletherapy Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Using Exposure and Response Prevention: Clinical Outcomes From a Retrospective Longitudinal Observational Study demonstrated evidence of the effectiveness of online therapy sessions for OCD treatment. A large (i.e., 3552) naturalistic sample of individuals was studied during this research. Individuals received OCD counselling through a secure digital platform. The treatment provided resulted in “clinically and statistically significant improvements, with a 43.4% mean reduction in obsessive-compulsive symptoms…and a 62.9% response rate”. This is an excellent, suggestive of decreased symptoms and enhanced quality of life. Individuals experienced improvements regardless of the severity of their symptoms when they began therapy.
Given its effectiveness and accessibility, online therapy treatment for OCD definitely has a lot going for it! Both teens and adults can benefit from online therapy sessions for OCD.
Considerations for Successful Teletherapy Implementation in OCD Treatment
If you are a client considering teletherapy sessions for OCD treatment, you want to ensure a best fit OCD therapist. At FTPS, we ensure that virtual therapy sessions are conducted by highly trained OCD therapists in a secure environment. Our confidential online therapy sessions take place on a platform called Owl Practice, which is compliant with privacy regulations in Ontario and British Columbia as well as with our professional college rules and regulations.
You want to be confident and comfortable in your therapy sessions. This will contribute to motivation and willingness to engage in challenging tasks. Being able to push against your fears in therapy can be an important aspect of OCD treatment. We ensure that you feel able to do this when we meet and discuss your therapy goals and treatment plan together.
You might experience OCD symptoms that are extremely time consuming and severe. If this is the case you might wonder whether online therapy sessions “will be enough”? This is an important consideration. You will want to discuss this when meeting with your therapist for the first time.
If you want to do some in-person sessions, we offer that at FTPS as part of a hybrid OCD therapy program. For example, you might want to meet with your OCD therapist and do a community-based exposure. This can help you to receive exposure therapy coaching in an environment that might be difficult for you to approach alone. Following this, you can then practise these skills on your own in-between sessions. There are lots of ways in which we can tailor treatment to meet your needs. Contact us today to find out more!
How Can I Find Teletherapy for OCD Treatment?
Does FTPS provide OCD therapy near me? We provide virtual therapy in Canada, throughout Ontario and BC, so please reach out to us if you live anywhere in those regions! We provide online therapy for OCD for adults, teens, parents, families and couples. We also provide OCD therapy in both an individual and group format.
DISCLAIMER: This content is meant for informational and educational purposes only. Only a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist can diagnose a mental health disorder. The content of this website is not meant to be a substitute for therapy. Visiting this website should not be considered to be equivalent to a relationship with FTPS. Mental health concerns should only be discussed in the context of providing professional services after the consent process has been completed with a qualified FTPS associate outside of our website.