OSU students say tele-therapy offers more flexibility than in-person counseling

A photo illustration of a Zoom meeting on a laptop in Corvallis on April 17th.
A photo illustration of a Zoom meeting on a laptop in Corvallis on April 17th.
Aisling Gazzo

One of the biggest issues students may face with in-person therapy is that it is just like any other commitment – it requires getting out of bed, putting on clothes and leaving the house. 

While this form of therapy may be most common, it doesn’t need to be the only option.

Mya Kuzmin, a third-year public health major and Spanish major, uses telehealth therapy, a form of psychotherapeutic counseling done over a video conferencing application, as it is more convenient due to the fact that she does not have to worry about the travel time.

“A major pro is not having to commute, which saves time and money,” Kuzmin said. 

Kuzmin has also done in person therapy and pointed out that the only significant difference between in person and telehealth is that she is able to take notes easier during telehealth therapy. She said that she prefers telehealth to in person therapy mostly for the flexibility.

“I recommend whatever a person feels comfortable with and what will allow them to actually get the care they need,” Kuzmin said. “For me, that’s teletherapy.”

Brian Munger, a second-year computer science at Oregon State University, goes to therapy to help treat his anxiety. He has been going to telehealth therapy for about a year.

“There are definitely pros and cons,” Munger said. “The pros are that you can do it from anywhere, usually for me that’s my apartment. I’m from Southern California so it’s nice having a therapist no matter what state I’m currently in.”

Munger has also used in-person therapy through Counseling and Psychological Services at OSU. He found this to be less flexible than using telehealth as it was difficult to meet weekly with a CAPS therapist.

According to the National Library of Medicine, there is no evidence that telehealth and in person therapy are very different in terms of providing psychotherapy.

“I agree with that report,” Munger said. “I had a great experience with my therapist at CAPS. She was very caring and acknowledging of my feelings, which helped a lot. It was really beneficial for me to go frequently through telehealth, which as I mentioned, wasn’t possible through CAPS. I would say this was the main benefit of my telehealth therapist.”

Nolan Miller, a third-year natural resources major at OSU, attends telehealth therapy to help with conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the past, Miller tried using a combination of medication and in person therapy before switching to telehealth therapy.

Miller said his experience with telehealth has been overly positive and the only downside to it is that technology reliability is an issue.

“I think that telehealth therapy is a great opportunity to ease therapy into your schedule. Oftentimes, the very thing you’re attending therapy for can keep you out of the house, be that low energy, anxiety, forgetfulness or something else,” Miller said.

Miller said he believes going to therapy in whichever form works easiest is best.

“Many smaller clinics offer negotiable payment plans and have a variety of treatment types,” Miller said. “Your mind is a part of you as much as any muscle or organ, and you wouldn’t leave a torn ligament or persistent stomach ache just sitting there; you’d want to take care of it with a professional. Tending to your mental health is critical to being your best self.”

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