In-person and virtual options have become the standard choices for most therapy practices. With the shift to “from home” options at the start of the pandemic, many patients adjusted to attending therapy from the comfort of their home, but which option is better for you as the clinician?

Learn about the unique perks of in-person and virtual therapy to determine which option is best for you and your students.

What is the difference?

Traditional therapy is when the clinician and patient meet in an office to work through their sessions face to face. In Teletherapy sessions, the patient and clinician meet in a virtual format either via video conferencing or over the phone to conduct sessions.

In short, the main difference is that one happens in person and the other happens through a screen, and depending on your specialty, there might be larger differences to face.

If you are conducting Speech Pathology sessions, you won’t face many obstacles in transitioning to telehealth, whereas Physical Therapy sessions might be more challenging to communicate stretches and physical techniques through the computer.

Although challenging, you can get creative to work any session virtually. Video sessions are your best option because they will help your students visualize your practices as you can demonstrate physical assignments.  When possible, refrain from conducting telehealth over the phone as it eliminates that visual connection.

Which version is preferred?

You know your students best, and some may benefit more from face-to-face therapy than others. This is the first step for you to determine how you can best practice with your students.

A recent survey of insured adults in the U.S. found that millennials are far more likely to express interest in telemedicine compared to previous generations. What does this mean for your student patients? It might be the option to consider implementing as the generation ahead of them continues with telehealth.

Telehealth may not be an alternative option for all therapy patients, but it is definitely just as effective when utilized properly. A recent study from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Vermont found that the outcomes from telehealth and face-to-face speech pathology sessions with students did not yield any statistically significant differences.

Taking your sessions virtual might allow your students to feel comfortable in their own space while communicating via their computer, something they have adjusted to since the beginning of 2020. 

Virtual therapy is also great for parents because it will remove the element of coordinating a ride for their child for any therapy outside of school hours. Children can access the help they need through their computers comfortably, on their time.

You’ll Find What is Best

Remember, therapy is not linear. You might start working with a student virtually and determine that face-to-face would benefit both parties or vice versa. There is nothing wrong with trial and error until you find the groove with each student. Telehealth might not be it, and that’s ok, but it is a great option to have in your pocket as things in life pop up like snow days or quarantines.