The Benefits of Online Therapy / e-Counseling
Online therapy is a new solution for individuals who want to seek out emotional help and guidance, but are somehow restricted by their location, budget, and other factors. Online therapy, also known as tele-therapy, e-counseling, and cyber-counseling, has experienced an ongoing growth in popularity over recent years.
Not only is online therapy convenient, but it’s a huge time-saver, as you don’t need to drive to weekly therapy appointments. If you and your therapist have a webcam, all you need is an internet connection to facilitate a face-to-face conversation that can help you to reach your therapeutic goals from the comfort of your own home.
Online therapy is particularly beneficial to those who would struggle to attend traditional counseling appointments due to obstacles like limited transportation, poor mobility, illness, budget, or distance. It can provide a much-needed treatment resource to those who require access to mental health solutions, and for some, it can make all the difference in the world on the path towards a healthier state of living.
How Does Online Therapy Work?
Generally, online therapy works in a similar way to typical therapy, the only difference is that it’s accessed over a computer. Working with therapists from a distance is not a new concept, as Freud and other practitioners used to turn to letters to keep in touch with their patients regularly. Patients then needed support, guidance, and feedback that could be provided through a range of different formats – besides basic face-to-face conversation.
As the internet and personal computers became more popular, new opportunities for distance-based therapies emerged within the mental health environment. Starting with support groups and self-help forums, followed by online instant messaging services, and soon evolving to webcam-based conversations that allow for face-to-face conversations, online therapy has become a popular means of accessing professional help.
Today, online therapy can be used to assist with a range of psychological issues, ranging from problems with anxiety and depression, to life challenges, relationship concerns, and more. There are currently thousands of online support groups available, alongside countless websites offering therapeutic and counseling services. Many mental health professionals online also have “traditional” offline services too.
There are five primary ways in which clients and therapists can communicate through online therapy:
- Instant messaging
- Live Chat
- Internet Phone or VoIP
- Video conferencing or video chat
Why is Online Therapy Effective?
Having the opportunity to access therapists online has made these vital mental health services available, and often more appealing, to thousands of individuals who might not have been able to access or afford treatment in the past. From services offered at discounted fees, to discrete and comfortable solutions for people who feel uncomfortable talking about their issues, online therapy makes counseling more convenient.
Some of the advantages of online therapy might include:
- Easier to access for those with geographical restrictions
- More appealing to people who fear the stigma of seeking out therapy
- Less expensive than seeing a therapist in person
- Convenient for those with time constraints
- Greater comfort – some people prefer talking to therapist from the comfort of their own home
- Correspondence can be saved for future reference
- Access to a wide range of medical health professionals, including social workers, licensed psychologists, marriage and family therapists.
How to Choose your Online Therapist
E-therapy, or online counseling can have some limitations, but it has quickly emerged as a wonderful resource for a large number of consumers. As a convenient and easy-to-access solution for professional mental-health guidance, online therapy is changing the way that a lot of us look at counseling.
However, just like any form of therapy, it’s important to remember that choosing the right online therapist is crucial. For your treatment to be successful, you need to feel comfortable with the person that you’re speaking to – even if it’s through video calls and emails. Because of this, it may be a good idea to set up a consultation with your potential therapist to see how you can interact. Additionally, you may want to find out if the therapist you choose as a physical location you can visit, in case you feel that you need face-to-face interaction at any stage.