Sarah, 49, is in remote psychotherapy. This Ile-de-France woman suffering from bipolar disorders, yet stabilized for years, felt the need to consult again during the first confinement. ” I was very apprehensive about being alone behind my screen, but I felt as comfortable as it was face to face. Maybe even more, sometimes: I am quite a shy person and I have fewer fears as well », she explains. Surrounded by her cat and her furniture, Sarah feels reassured.
Numerous studies have shown that the health crisis and the successive confinements have led to a deterioration in the mental health of some French people, and especially young people. Between October 2020 and January 2021, the number of researches on Doctolib related to psychology doubled, from 120,000 to 255,000. As a result, the practice of consultation by phone or by videoconference with a webcam, was imposed and seems to be holding up.
A new patient
Sylvia Martin campaigned for the switch to teleconsultation in her health establishment at the start of the first confinement. By offering video conferencing slots to her regular patients, the psychologist saw the arrival of a new patient population: “I received calls from France whole, because there are not everywhere specialists in “borderline” personality disorders. I was also called by people living in rural areas, who did not want to take an hour by car to consult ”, she enumerates.
For her, visio-therapy first of all makes psychology accessible to people who are materially or psychologically unable to come to the office. The psychologist can, for example, live, train her agoraphobic patients to leave their homes. When Sylvia Martin began to offer face-to-face time slots again in May 2021, some patients also chose to continue remotely.
A more nuanced assessment
Stéphanie Mancion draws up a more nuanced assessment. This child psychologist in a child protection association chose to return to face-to-face as soon as the first confinement ended. ” Derlaughing at the screen, it is very difficult to know what is going on in the family and to assess situations of violence “, she explains.
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According to her, the consultation in distance with the children loses in quality, because they do not concentrate as face-to-face. For the psychologist, videoconferencing is not recommended for all patients: ” Elis used to keep the link in times of crisis, but we can not stop there. Putting young video game addicts back in front of a screen, when they need a real human connection, is to prevent therapy. Just as by not bringing young people who have difficulty leaving their homes to the office, we are not addressing the symptoms.. “
“Nothing can replace the feeling of having made the effort to go for a consultation, abounds Sarah, the Ile-de-France patient. At home, I lose track of my ideas more easily and there is no such neutrality of the cabinet. “