Since 1995, the American Psychology Association (APA) has recognized virtual treatment methods like online counselling, but these methods have become significantly more popular in recent times. In the modern world, work schedules, time constraints, social distancing, and geographical constraints make face-to-face or in-person counseling sometimes unrealistic.
Other factors such as the availability of video conferencing platforms and Internet penetration make online counseling a viable alternative. People find online counseling to be more convenient, easier, accessible, and more cost-effective. Patients avoid the commute as well, as time travelling or waiting in the therapist’s office. Recent research also shows that both therapists and clients find online counseling to be effective.
Who Can Enroll For Online Counseling?
Typically there is individual counseling, couples counseling, and teenage counseling available online. Mental health counseling done via the Internet or via video conferencing has helped individuals and groups overcome mental health problems. As long as the provider is a licensed mental health professional, they will provide the expertise and professionalism online to meet the treatment needs. Other areas of therapy also deliver professional treatment to clients through the Internet.
Online counseling has a number of benefits; here are five of them:
1. Effective Group Therapy Wherever You Are
In instances where people are geographically apart such as couples or families, they can still get the benefits of therapy by enrolling for online sessions. Each participant can join the sessions remotely from their location. It therefore eliminates the need to postpone counseling till the couple, family, or group is in the same location.
Long distance relationships do not have to suffer because couples in such relationships can get treatment online. This is beneficial in many ways because it is effective and productive.
2. Access To Expertise
Sometimes people need treatment from a therapist with specific qualifications, experience, or expertise and they may struggle to find it locally. With online therapy, they can go online and find the right therapist for their treatment needs. Websites like Better Help provides a directory of counselors which makes it easy to search for the right therapist or counselor for your needs. In the past people were limited to the therapists within their locality, but with technological advancements, a patient can access treatment from a licensed professional in a different region.
3. Effective Communication and Expression
There are instances where a person could be too intimidated to speak freely during a group therapy session, such as in family therapy. An online session where participants join into a group session from their respective locations creates a safe space for the therapist to work on the treatment of participants.
In addition, some people have personalities or conditions that hamper their ability to communicate effectively with a therapist in person. Such people can benefit from online counseling. There is also the issue of getting cold feet when a patient needs to visit the therapist’s office for their session. Having their session online gives them the benefit of being in their own environment where they are most comfortable, and communicating with the therapist through the computer screen.
Online therapy is actually really convenient because you essentially eliminate commute times, and waiting time in the therapists office when you get there early. Instead you could be working remotely or be in your office or your home, and join your session just at your scheduled time.
5. Overcomes Physical Limitations
With online therapy, people with disabilities or people who are house bound are not excluded from getting accessible therapy. In addition, in instances where a therapist’s office is not accessible to people with certain disabilities, online therapy is a great option.
Online counseling has recently become very popular, and patients and therapists who use this method report on its effectiveness. A patient needs a computer, tablet, or device with Internet connectivity and they can install the video conferencing software or app used by the therapist. Booking for online sessions is done online in a smooth and easy manner.