Is Online Counseling Right for You?

Is Online Counseling Right for You?

You’ve heard of physicians using tele-health with patients and maybe you have even heard of online counseling. Most service professions seem to be crossing the internet boundary. How does it really work? Is it really possible to get the same top notch service as you would in a counseling office? The answer is a resounding yes.  Here is how to determine if it is right for you.

After moving from New Jersey to Florida I converted my traditional office based practice to an online-based practice. The reactions from my clients were resoundingly positive.  They enjoyed not commuting to appointments or sitting in crowded waiting rooms. They found that nothing was lost in the quality of therapeutic rapport.

So what are some other benefits to online therapy and is it right for you?

  • Flexibility– Appointments can be scheduled at the convenience of busy professionals and parents. Most of the appointments I offer are in the evenings to accommodate busy schedules.
  • Convenience– Sessions can be done within the comfort of your own home or office. No commuting to and from appointments. As long as you have 4 walls and a door your sessions can be conducted anywhere.
  • Increased level of privacy- no awkward moments running into others you know in the waiting room.
  • Increased level of comfort during the session because you are in a familiar setting versus a professional’s office. This often helps you to feel more relaxed which improves rapport and trust.

I would be remiss not to mention the disadvantages of online counseling, technology being among them.  Most notably, screens can freeze, internet connections can be sketchy, video resolution can be fuzzy.  These are all drawbacks for therapist and client alike.

Both traditional and online therapy are imperfect.  Both have their limitations. Online therapy is effective for many types of problems and people.  It is an ideal fit for those with social anxiety, agoraphobia, and panic disorder as well as mild to moderate depression where getting out of the house is often a huge obstacle to treatment.  It can also be a lifesaver for couples or single parents who can have a session after their children are in bed and can’t afford a babysitter on top of the expense of counseling.

However, online therapy is not a good fit for everyone, particularly those with Major Depression and suicidal thinking.  For those types of issues a face-to-face in person counseling session is better suited.

Online counseling has shown to “have a similar impact and capable of replicating” face-to-face counseling sessions (Richards and Vigano 2013).  It is becoming more and more prevalent as another effective avenue to provide services to those who cannot access more traditional types of care or who prefer not to.  See if counseling online could work for you.  I would be happy to speak with you to answer any questions you might have.  Call today for a free phone consultation!

Richards, Derek (09/01/2013). “Online Counseling: A Narrative and Critical Review of the Literature”. Journal of clinical psychology (0021-9762), 69 (9), p. 994.