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Exploring the Benefits of Choosing a Local Therapist

ByDave Stopher

Oct 20, 2023

In an age of screens, websites, blogs, and podcasts, therapy options seem endless, However, there’s a profound advantage in seeking support close to home. Choosing a local therapist can bring a long list of benefits to your mental health journey that extend far beyond geographic convenience.

Remote vs. In-Person Therapy

The pandemic of 2020 changed everything for everybody. You can hardly find an industry that wasn’t significantly impacted in some shape or form. In the world of therapy, we saw a major migration away from in-person therapy sessions and toward online, remote therapy.

At the time, this transition was a necessary one. It allowed therapists to continue seeing their clients with less risk of transmitting disease. Likewise, at a time when millions of people were dealing with pandemic-induced anxiety and depression, individuals were able to access top therapists from around the world, regardless of location.

Fast forward to today, and remote therapy is still very popular. However, you could argue that the value of screen-to-screen therapy pales in comparison to that of face-to-face, in-person therapy. In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why working with a local therapist in your area is far more beneficial than the digital alternative.

4 Benefits of Using Local Therapists

Remote therapy can work – especially if you’re leveraging technology to work with a therapist that you already have a pre-existing relationship with. However, in most cases, it’s better to be able to walk into an office and sit down face-to-face with your therapist. 

Here are four reasons why:

  • Personal Connection

Meeting your therapist in person allows you to build a stronger and more personal connection. You can read their facial expressions and body language, which can convey empathy and understanding. This tangible connection almost always leads to a quicker establishment of trust, an essential component of effective therapy.

There’s also an important non-verbal component of communication that can be more easily processed through in-person conversations. When a therapist is able to sit in the same room as you, they pick up on subtle non-verbal cues that might otherwise be missed in a virtual session. This usually produces better results and more breakthroughs. 

  • Nuanced Understanding of the Region

Don’t discount the importance of location. Local therapists have a nuanced understanding of the regional dynamics in your area. They understand how this impacts local residents and the larger, sweeping trends in the area. 

For example, if you’re in England, a local British therapist is going to understand the nuances of your day-to-day life (at least culturally speaking) more than an American or Australian therapist. The same is true regionally. A therapist in Los Angeles is going to deal with a different dynamic of people than, say, a therapist in San Antonio, Texas. 

This isn’t to say therapists can’t cross state or country borders – just that it’s beneficial for a therapist to know the area.

  • Greater Accessibility

When you choose a local therapist, there’s less wasted time. You can usually be at their office in minutes. Not only that, but local therapists often have more flexible schedules and waiting lists than national or international therapists who may be booked months in advance. This means you can get the support you need in a timely fashion. 

It should also be noted that local therapists are better equipped to provide immediate support during emergencies or crises. They can be on hand to assist when you need it most, offering a level of comfort and assurance that remote therapists may not be able to provide as readily.

  • Local Support System and Connections

Finally, let’s talk about connections. As the old saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know. Some of the power that comes from working with a local therapist can be found in the robust support system and connections they have with other experts in the area. They can tap into their network of healthcare professionals, social workers, and specialists to make sure you get the care you need.

Adding it All Up

There’s nothing better than having a local therapist who you know (and who understands you and your situation). At the end of the day, it usually results in a much more beneficial result. However, don’t take this for granted. Do your research, vet your options, and choose a therapist that aligns with your desired outcomes!