Is online and telephone Counselling effective?
Online counseling is proven to be as effective, if not more effective than face-to-face counseling, with important benefits that bring the experience into the modern era. For some clients, the traditional counseling is their choice because they haven’t yet experienced the freedom that online counseling offers.
Based on my personal experience: there is usually more work done during online sessions compare to face to face sessions as the conversation is faster.
- No travel required. This is great for those who may not drive and for those that do drive, it saves on petrol, parking and traffic!
- Less of your time is required as you will not need to add on travel time, meaning you can have your session remotely during your breaks!
- You can have sessions in your own, comfortable environment, surrounded by your own cushions, possessions, which for some may be more of a comforting experience.
- If someone lives in a remote area, seeing a therapist online means you have more therapists to choose from, which can only mean they have a better chance at finding the one who is right for you!
- Mobility can be a big issue for some people and if a client cannot visit in person, at least with online counselling can still benefit from fantastic service.
- Expats also may struggle to find an English speaking therapist, so by using either online or telephone counselling means accessibility from everywhere.
- Convenience. Both the therapist and the client have the convenience of corresponding with each other at a range of variant times. This style of therapy can take away the hassle of scheduling and setting appointments more common in traditional settings. This also creates an opportunity for the therapist to extend their services to more clients as appointments can be potentially scheduled over 24 hours and reach a larger geographical region.
- For those individuals who are ambivalent about therapy or who may be uncomfortable with traditional models of therapy, may find online counselling more suitable whereby it has been found that online therapy is preferred by those who are uncomfortable with talking face to face with someone about their problems or who are suffering from social phobias, agoraphobias or anxiety disorders.
- In other cases, such as for social anxiety disorder or shyness online therapy can reach sufferers who might otherwise not seek help as their very disorder makes the challenge of going to an office an insurmountable challenge. A 2013 study on social anxiety disorder and online therapy followed 24 participants through 12 weeks of Skype therapy. Over 90% reported decreased fear and decreased avoidance of social situations, and 95% reported satisfaction with doing their therapy over the internet.
There are, of course, some things that online counselling does make more challenging.
A counsellor cannot read all your body language over a monitor. That said, it is still real-time communication, and a well-trained online therapist will know to look for verbal cues, eye contact, and other body clues that are signs of stress uncertainty, such as how often you look away.
Things like making a diagram or chart together obviously become more challenging. Your therapist can find ways around this, such as scanning and emailing things.
And of course an in person session can’t get disrupted when a connection fails.Although things like fire alarms can happen, they are unlikely.
And if you are the sort who feels comforted by being in another person’s presence, video therapy does not offer the same experience. So it’s a case of going with what works for you.