You may have stumbled across this because you’re thinking about starting counselling and for whatever reason you’re considering doing it online. In this post I will attempt to answer questions you might have about the process and whether it is effective or not.
Counselling delivered online can be known by many different names; e-therapy, telehealth, skype therapy, online therapy, etc. It can be delivered by many different methods including online chat and email. For the purpose of this post I will be referring to online counselling as a type of therapy delivered over the internet using face to face video communication (webcam), which is the type of therapy I deliver online.
The reasons that people decide to work online can (mostly) be divided into two categories; circumstance or choice.
- You don’t live close to the therapist you want to work with.
- The therapist you want to work with has no availability for offline therapy.
- You live in a country that does not have access to English speaking therapists or there are no therapists in your country at all.
- You’re unable to leave your home for whatever reason; young child, agoraphobia, disability, etc.
- You travel a lot with work so cannot commit to the same day and time each week.
- You would prefer not to spend time travelling to and from therapy.
- You want to be more anonymous. Compared to offline therapy there is no waiting area, no questions about where you are or who you are with, etc.
- You want to keep costs down. Online therapy is often more cost effective as the fee is lower and there are no travel costs.
- You want the flexibility of day/time as you prefer having freedom rather than being restricted to the same day/time each week.
- You prefer the physical distance between you and your therapist which might help you talk more easily.
So you’ve decided, through choice or circumstance, that online counselling is a service that you want to use. Is it effective? In my experience, the short answer is yes. It's often said that it feels like the technology disappears after a few minutes and like we're in the same room. Clients reap all the benefits of therapy from the location of their choice. However there are some things that you might want to consider before starting.
When online counselling isn't a good idea
- You do not have a space that functions for counselling. (Quiet, no interruptions, private, etc.)
- You do not have access to WiFi - mobile data can cost a lot to use!
- Your internet connection isn’t stable. It can be really difficult to have to repeat yourself during some parts of therapy if all your therapist saw (and heard) was a pixellated version of you.
- If you want to talk freely and openly about things going on in your relationships then knowing someone else is in the house could hinder the process.
My personal reccommendations
- Use headphones (wireless preferred, see below). Not only does it give more privacy but it ensures that you can hear your therapist clearly.
- Create enough distance between you and your computer/device so that you can get more than your face into the frame (this goes for therapists too!) So much communication is non-verbal that you’ll both be missing out if you don’t.
I hope this went some way in explaining more about online counselling to you. Please feel free to explore the rest of the site and if you would like more information then do contact me, or go ahead and book a session.