The 7 Benefits Of Seeking Out Online Counseling
Updated January 03, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown
Online counseling is still relatively new, but it's been making waves in the counseling scene for a bit. This is because online counseling is reinventing how people seek counseling. Here are a few reasons why online counseling can help you.
One of the reasons why online counseling is convenient is because it allows for counseling from a remote location. Here are some reasons why this is a good thing.
- It's great for people who live in a rural location. Some people do not live close to a counselor, making it harder to commute to one and attend regular sessions. Alternatively, this is good when the counselors who are nearby just aren't good fits for you.
- Good for people who have transportation issues. From people who can't drive to people who just don't have any way to make it to the office, online counseling allows people not to leave their homes or waste extra money on renting a cab.
- This is good for people who have disabilities. Not everyone can go outside, or make it to the office, without some struggle. Especially if you have a fear of the outdoors. Online counseling allows you to receive help in a way that is easy for you to do.
- You can have sessions in a unique location. Some people do not work their best in an office. Some will want to have a session in the woods, or in the comfort of their own home. Online counseling allows for this.
- You can talk to a counselor through any device. You can sit on a desk on your computer, do it through the phone, on a tablet, and so on.
As you can see, the convenience of online counseling is one of the reasons it's popular; the convenience doesn't just stop at the location.
Counseling Any Time
We all have busy schedules, but some people have schedules so hectic that they just can't slip any time to see a counselor. People who work a lot, or have a radical schedule, are just a few examples. The good thing is that you can fix this by talking to an online counselor. You can find a counselor who will work on your schedule and give you detailed sessions in the middle of the night, or during the day. You can work around your hectic work schedule and find a counselor that is right for you.
Counseling In Many Different Ways
Online counseling is ideal because it allows you to talk to your therapist through a variety of ways. Not everyone is good at speaking to a counselor directly, and online counseling allows you to talk to your counselor in different formats such as.
- Chat. You can chat with your counselor using an app or by texting. Texting is something that is a bit of a double-edged sword. You can write down how you feel and articulate your words better, but there is less stream of consciousness, and some things can be lost in translation without body language or tone of voice. However, this makes it good for people who have social awkwardness and don't like talking in person or people who want to warm up to their counselor. The text is also good when you're in a place where you can't make any noise, such as in a school or at work.
- Phone conversations. This is better when it comes to conversation, as it helps you realize the tone of voice. However, there is still a lack of body language. A phone conversation is still good, as it allows for a stream of consciousness.
- Video chat. Using apps like Skype allow you to talk to your therapist face-to-face, creating an experience that's almost as real as being in there with the therapist. While it can suffer from lag or bad internet connection, if you have a stable connection, it can be a great way to seek counseling.
Any Therapist Is Available
Even though therapists may use similar techniques for you to feel better, they will have different approaches to it. Some therapists are blunt, while others are better at easing you into the realization that you may be at fault. Whatever the case, there is a therapist out there for anyone, and online therapy helps by allowing you to find one whose personality suits you. You can get a good feel for the therapist's character by reading reviews that other people have left them.
It's More Affordable
Counseling is expensive. That's the truth of it. While there are affordable options and places that do volunteer counseling, for the most part, counseling can be expensive. However, online counseling may be cheaper. First, many therapists are working at home as well. This means they don't need to pay for their office, making their prices much cheaper. They may offer discounts, and someone does not have to commute every time to go to a session.
It's More Private
There is a stigma about receiving therapy. Counseling can be quite beneficial, but many people believe they are weak for wanting to talk to one. There is no shame in receiving counseling; you know you have a problem, and you want to seek professional help rather than attempt to solve it your own. It's like if you called a mechanic to fix your car rather than try to fix it yourself despite having little car knowledge.
With that said, some people do not want to be caught at the counselor's office, especially if they are in a small town with gossip. Also, some people may have anxiety about going, and this can prevent them from receiving the help they need. Online counseling allows you to do it in a more private location, and this can mean that they get better help.
It's More Anonymous
While face-to-face conversation is possible, some people do not want to reveal their faces. Maybe they are insecure about their appearance or don't trust their therapist despite their oath to secrecy. Online therapy can allow you to hide your appearance and make you feel more comfortable with the counselor. While face-to-face therapy can be the most beneficial, for those who have problems with their appearance or are worried, online therapy can be a good first step.
Disadvantages Of Online Therapy
Of course, online therapy isn't without its faults. Here are some disadvantages when compared to traditional therapy.
Technology Can Fail
Technology has certainly improved, but there is always room for failure. Even if you charged your device, the battery could still go out at any time. Your phone may fail, or you may break your device during the middle of a session. There may be a storm that knocks your Internet out during a session. While this is going to happen with anything that involves technology, it can be quite frustrating when you're trying to seek help. Make sure you have your devices charged and prepared for a session.
People love online therapy because of the confidentiality, but there is always a risk of an online breach. Someone could hack and steal the logs of your sessions, or hack into a conversation. This is another risk that happens anywhere you go online. If you buy something, there is a risk of your credit card info being stolen even if there is security. However, this is still rare, and you should not worry about it too much.
As online therapy is still new, there have been few studies into how effective it is. While a face-to-face conversation can be similar to traditional therapy, figuring out how effective therapy is during a chat conversation, when there are no body language or tones, is a bit of a mystery. However, a professional therapist can still make it work.
Online therapy, despite having a few cons, can be very beneficial. It can help the differently abled by providing them with access to a therapist. It can help those who fear stigma by providing them with a more anonymous place to talk. It can help those who live in a place where therapy isn't readily available. And because of it being remote, it can cost less than traditional therapy.
With that said, you should not just seek out an online therapist. You should do some research into who you're talking to and make sure they're qualified. Whenever you meet an online therapist, here are a few things to consider or ask:
- Ask them about their education or experience. Make sure they are qualified to do the job. Therapy is more than just talking to someone.
- Read their reviews. See if they will connect with you and look at the criticisms as well.
- Ask them a few interview questions. Ask how they can treat you and what they will do if you're still having problems.
Finding the ideal therapist online is a bit of a challenge, but once you find them, they can change your life.