Woman with hand over mouth

Can you have too much online therapy? 

Anything to do with therapy is complex, there are not many clear yes and no answers. It is typically very dependent on the person and situation involved. But as a rule, one session every seven days is what I and many other therapists think is a good ethical standard.

An extra complication is that online therapy can remove old limitations and present more opportunities to talk to a therapist. There is no need to travel any distance. You open your device and start talking where ever you are.

If you include that some therapists also use emails, and chat options as well, you can see that the opportunities for engaging in therapy are much higher with modern technology. So increasing the ability to have more therapy sessions over a short time period and complicating the client-therapist relationship.

Short term online therapy

I see my job as helping my clients leave my online therapy practice as soon as it is practical to do so. Therapy is not a substitution for people’s personal support networks. Therapy offers a safe place to work through a range of problems. Eventually helping the person to be autonomous and self-reliant, no longer in need of therapy.

The danger with having too many sessions is in my opinion. Primarily, it is raising the risk of the client becoming dependant on the therapist, and reducing their independence, and possibly stunting their ability to grow as an individual.

Secondly in my experience, the time between therapy sessions allows space to reflect on the session and quantify what it means in the real world, this can help people find clarity and discover new content.

What you learn from online therapy

Transferring the knowledge and personal insights from what has been learned by having online therapy into their world, often needs time, it can be an anxious moment trying new ways of interacting with people, saying no to people, standing up for what they want and becoming more independent.

Dependency on therapy is an unknown equation. Some people will not become dependent on the therapist even if they have had lots of sessions close together over a long time. But some people may develop a problem with dependency and the therapist has then created even more problems for the client to sort through.

Becoming dependant on the therapist

Developing dependency on the therapist can cripple a person’s ability to heal emotionally, although there is no actual certainty that people will have dependency issues with more sessions, I think therapists need to understand the risks. Because if it goes wrong, it could have a serious and devastating impact on the client.

There is also a hidden advantage for abusive therapists, clients who are dependant on the therapist, can be kept in therapy longer and more money extracted over time.

The only time I increase the number of sessions is when there is a crisis in the client’s life, or they are in a very bad place emotionally and going into crisis.

unethical online therapists 

Surviving dependency can be difficult but the first step is finding a new therapist who works ethically and will not encourage attachment, but will keep the client-therapist boundaries intact, your therapist is not your friend, they have to be separate and detached to be able to have a helpful perspective.

This move to another therapist is going to feel upsetting and it will not be easy, but it’s well worth doing if you want to be independent and run your own life in the way you want.

Have you ever struggled with dependency on therapy?

Leave a Reply