Have you been struggling to manage your mental health? Online counseling has become an increasingly popular way of accessing different kinds of therapy and support.
How Online Counseling Works
Online counseling is a form of therapy that is conducted by an independent therapist or mental health professional via email, instant messaging, video chat, or phone. A typical online counseling session lasts for 30-45 minutes and may be scheduled at a time convenient to the client.
Although digital communication can feel impersonal to some people, it’s important to remember that there is no difference between having a conversation in person or over digital tools like Skype. In fact, research suggests that people may be more comfortable and open with their therapists online than when they are face-to-face.
Digital counselors are licensed clinicians and experts in their field who specialize exclusively in online therapy. If you’re seeking assistance with depression and anxiety, for example, your counselor will have expertise in these areas. This is different from an unlicensed individual using the generic term “counselor.”
As you consider whether online therapy might work for you, remember that this option has become increasingly popular due to its convenience, affordability and effectiveness–especially for those with mental illness exacerbated by social stigma or physical limitations.
Why Choose Online Counseling
There are many benefits to online counseling. These include:
Convenience– Online counseling is available at any time, allowing you to talk to a therapist when it’s convenient for you.
Privacy– The conversation is only between the two of you. You don’t have to worry about what other people will think or say.
Ease of use– It doesn’t take much time and can be done from your computer or smartphone.
Affordability– For some people, especially those without insurance, seeing a therapist in person can be very expensive. With online counseling, there are no office visits and no travel expenses which make it more affordable for everyone.
Advantages of Online Counseling
When you think of counseling, chances are you think of going to a therapist’s office or a psychologist’s office. However, there is also an option for online counseling. Online therapy provides many advantages, including:
Convenience: With online therapy, you can get the professional help that you need without the hassle of commuting and arranging for child care.
Cost: Online counseling is often less expensive than traditional therapy and it doesn’t require a long-term commitment.
Freedom from Stigma: Many people who have experienced mental health issues feel shame as a result of their struggles with mental health. Online therapy offers this same therapeutic experience without any associated stigma for those who may be struggling with mental health issues.
Privacy: Some people prefer online therapy because they want to keep their struggles private, away from their friends and family members.
Challenges of Online Counseling
Online counseling can provide a variety of benefits, but it does have some challenges. One challenge is that you’re not going to be able to see your counselor face-to-face. Another challenge is the time difference. If you’re in the United States and your therapist is in Australia, they may be asleep while you’re awake and vice versa.
Online counseling is quickly becoming a more common way to get help for mental health and addiction issues. It carries a number of advantages, from greater access to care, to greater confidentiality. However, there are some challenges, like not being able to connect with the counselor in person. But for people who are not ready for in-person counseling or who can’t afford it, online counseling may be a good option.