Already there are numerous studies out supporting the benefits of online counseling. Online counseling refers to counseling services through the internet and can include emails, chat rooms and web cameras. This type of counselling goes by so many names such as cyberspace counselling, e-therapy, e-counselling and tele-counselling. Online counseling isn’t for everyone though. There are a few exceptions to who and what issues will be beneficial or harmful for someone.
Online therapy is growing rapidly. The Internet is not just for chatting with friends and relatives anymore.
The benefits of online counseling:
- It’s often time more convenient. Many people who would love to have the time to sit and talk to someone qualified about their problems simply don’t have the time to wait in an office, then sit for an hour. Or they can’t seem to get an appointment at their own available time and is at the mercy of the counselor to work around their busy schedules. Two people with busy schedules trying to make an appointment to meet is sometimes a chore.
- It can help those who might not otherwise receive counseling due to their locations. There may not be enough or qualified and available counselors in their area.
- More economical. If you are lucky to find a counselor who accepts insurance and this is what you like, then you are a lucky one. Of course using your insurance comes with it’s own set of issues (click here for why many counselors are no longer accepting insurance). Normally online counseling is much more affordable than face to face counseling.
- For those who still feel that counseling has a social stigma attached, it’s more private. Those who wouldn’t normally go to a counselors office due to feeling that someone they know might see them it is would be a real benefit. In today’s every changing electrical world, where many people live there lives through electronic media, this way of counseling also offers them more ways to express themselves. Expressing oneself through texting, messaging, and video chats is how many of this generation express themselves.
A little about the disadvantages:
- Reading tones and body language is gone. Non verbal and verbal cues can be misread or are non existent. Traditional counseling relies often times on verbal and nonverbal cues as another form of communication as well as to help the counseling gain insight into thoughts and feelings that a client is often unable to express.
- Like anything else online, confidentiality can not be guaranteed. Though everything is done to assure complete confidentiality, being online opens oneself up to the possibility of being hacked or security breached. This too is an unfortunate reality of today’s wired world.
- Technical difficulties can happen. Internet can go down, computers do crash, phones stop working.
- Not in “real time”. Many online modes of counseling such as message counseling are not in “real time”. That means that you may send a message to your counselor and not hear back for several hours and vs versa.
- Ethical considerations. Let’s face it, online counseling is new. Like everything new, there will be problems, and these problems are what lead to change in laws and regulations. Right now, very few states have laws governing online counseling. This is changing though. Is your counseling who they say they are? Do they have the qualifications to counseling online? Are they licensed?
If you are considering online counseling please do your research about the counselor. Are they knowledgeable and skilled in the area of your problems? Remember that online counseling is not for everyone. If you are suicidal please contact crisis text line or 1-800-273-(talk)8255
If you are over the age of 18 and wish to try online counseling with me please click the Better Help link below. I am currently taking new online clients through this site as I have found it to be secure as reasonably possible and a good way of using online counseling. They are currently offering the first week free though this could change at any time.