Online counselling is proven to be an effective therapy, with many benefits that bring the experience into the modern era.
If you’re unsure whether online therapy is right for you, consider its positive benefits:
With traditional therapy, the experience has remained practically unchanged since psychotherapy’s beginnings in the late 1800s. You arrive at a location, have a seat on the couch, and talk with your therapist about your issues. Then, you leave and see each other a week or two later. In the same place, and usually at the same time.
Online counselling opens up new ways to communicate and doesn’t require that you leave the comforts of your home or office.
For those with hectic lives, scheduling a traditional therapy session can be prohibitive. It can be a burden especially for those who must arrange for childcare, and incur its associated financial and time costs. The end result is that those who could benefit most from therapy may never explore the option.
Those ambivalent about therapy or who may be uncomfortable with traditional models of therapy may find online counselling more suitable.
For those who are uncomfortable with talking face to face about their problems; suffering from anxiety disorders or social phobias online counselling can be a preference.
Online counselling is easily accessible to all those who wish to use it. It can aid those residing in rural or remote areas where there are no counselling services.
Those that are physically disabled or unable to leave their home can also easily access such services with little inconvenience. It is also convenient for persons with visual and hearing impairments. Online counselling has also shown to be effective in encouraging children and teenagers to receive therapy. They seem to be more comfortable with using the internet.
Eliminating social stigma
Online counselling may also be effective in eliminating the social stigma associated with receiving therapy. For those who are uncomfortable with receiving therapy, online counselling allows access to such services in private without the need to visit the counselling centre. This way the client feels less stigmatised without having to be seen by others in the waiting room, the administrative staff or anyone else.
Because of this, online counselling clearly does offer a degree of anonymity that may reduce such social stigma and therefore prompt them to seek assistance when they might otherwise have hesitated.
The absence of face to face contact can also prompt clients to communicate more openly leading to an increased level of honesty and therefore higher validity in the case of self-disclosure. The internet clearly offers a level of anonymity that is perceived by many users as non-threatening through allowing an ‘invisibility’.
Various ways to communicate
Online counselling can be executed via emails or a chat room, allowing both the client and the therapist to pay close attention to their communication and reflect on their thoughts and feelings before expressing them. It can encourage clients to express themselves in more self-reflective, thoughtful, and insightful ways. Having a written record also allows the client to have a reference point in future discussion, review and in the assessment of change and progress.
If audio is your preference, you can exchange voice messages with your therapist or use an old-fashioned phone call.
For those who want an experience seeing a therapist’s reaction and having them react to your body language, and what comes probably the closest to traditional therapy sessions, full video chat sessions are an option. You can choose to have that quality face-to-face time, but do so completely on your terms. You can use Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp…