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Demand for In-Person vs. Online Therapy: Current Landscape Update

Great Lakes Psychology Group

The demand for mental health treatment overall has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. During that time, many practitioners moved their practices exclusively online in order to continue practicing. Now, as pre-pandemic activities have begun to resume, it appears a new trend is emerging. Based on search trend analyses and GLPG’s own scheduling data, the demand for in-person services is increasing and the demand for online therapy is decreasing at the same time that there is a shortage of practitioners offering in-office treatment.

Demand for in-person appointments is increasing

GLPG was interested in assessing the demand for in-person versus online counseling services in the states we serve. According to a Google search trends analysis, there has been a 100% (double) increase in searches for “local counseling” in Michigan since last year, suggesting that interest in in-person appointments is increasing.

In Illinois, there has been a steady increase in demand for in-person therapy since last year, while interest in online therapy has seen a decrease since the start of 2022. Interest in the search keyword “therapy office” has increased by 53% year over year in Illinois. Overall, these trends point to an increased demand for local in-person therapy and a decline in demand for online therapy.

What does this mean for therapists?

Many therapists who were seeing clients in person before the pandemic made the switch to online-only appointments during the pandemic and still continue to practice exclusively online. Most likely, these therapists have been able to maintain a steady caseload of clients who either prefer to be online or are willing to see their therapist online if telehealth is all their therapist is offering. Online therapy is a great fit for those who enjoy the convenience of it and have access to reliable internet and a private space where they can meet with their therapist confidentially.

On the other hand, our search trends analysis along with reports from our in-house scheduling specialists suggests that there is a growing population of folks who would prefer in-person therapy but are unable to find an in-person therapist. After all, online therapy will not be ideal for everyone, especially young children, those without a reliable internet connection or camera-enabled device, and those without a private space at home where they feel free to speak openly with their therapist. Even for those without these specific limitations, many people would just prefer to be in the same room with their therapist.

In-person or online? Your practice, your choice.

Unlike online-only therapy platforms, GLPG offers therapists within our network the choice to practice online, in-person, or both.

Practicing in-person offers several benefits to therapists, including access to clients seeking in-person therapy, the ability to meet and network with other local therapists in person, and freeing up space at home that would otherwise need to be dedicated as office space. We maintain clean, updated, and conveniently located office spaces throughout the communities we serve.

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