HeatherAnne Wants To Know: Is Online Counseling Right for You?

Online counseling could be right for you if you want or need to access mental and emotional support in a convenient venue.

In our world of cell phones, laptops, tablets and other electronic devices capable of online chatting, it is easy to connect to someone who will listen. If you have ever used your phone or computer to discuss the stresses of your life with friends or family, you have already experienced a form of online counseling.

Online counseling is a new modality of the therapeutic world that provides professional, confidential and convenient services to people who want emotional support. Sometimes our friends and family cannot assist us the way we need. In other situations, we don’t have anyone we feel we can trust, or we don’t live in a place where in-person therapy is accessible. There are many who feel the social stigma related to therapy is crippling and desire a different level of confidentiality that an in-person office cannot provide. Online therapy offers alternatives to these issues.

Is there a difference between online therapy and in-person therapy?

Online therapists are not different than in-person therapists. Therapists are still required by their home state to be educated and licensed appropriately. The services offered are much like those you would receive in a brick-and-mortar office; however, you can do so from wherever you choose.

Offering services online is simply another method therapists can use to accommodate their clients. Being online can be extremely convenient for people who have busy schedules, long commutes, or fears of the social stigma associated with seeing a therapist in person.

As indicated by David Vogel in his paper titled “Avoidance of Counseling: Physiological Factors That Inhibit Seeking Help” (2007), there are six key factors that inhibit people from acquiring the professional help they need:

  • Social Stigma
  • Treatment Fears
  • Fear of Emotions
  • Anticipated Utility and Risk
  • Social Norms
  • Self-Disclosure

Online therapy can assist a client by providing solutions to these reasons for avoidance. Fears can be diminished via online counseling and emotional support can be provided for the next step in treatment.

Is online counseling effective?

According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, online counseling is effective for typical issues of depression, anxiety, and emotional distress. Not all mental health issues can be managed via an online session; however, an online therapist can assist the client to address their fears of going to an in-person therapist.

Online therapy should not take the place of in-person therapy, especially for more serious mental illnesses. However, it can be utilized to assist those who do not have access to in-person therapeutic services and require continued support from a therapeutic professional.

If you are if unsure online therapy is for you, don’t hesitate to contact one of our providers to discuss your needs. We can assist you to find the most appropriate care.

If you would like to see explore online counseling further, check out www.yourstoryconfidential.com.

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