Online counselling is becoming a popular choice for mental health treatment. It offers convenience and flexibility for clients and therapists alike. But is it effective? And how do you know if online counselling is right for you?
Whether you’re in need of mental health assistance yourself or you’re an experienced psychologist, therapist, or counsellor looking for an extra set of hands to help your clients reach their goals, an online counseling practice can be an excellent option. It can allow you to reach more clients, expand your services, and work at a time that’s convenient for you. But it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons of this type of therapy, so you can decide if it’s the best fit for your client base.
What is online counselling?
Online counselling (also known as telehealth) is a method of providing psychological therapy to clients via internet-based video platforms (such as Zoom), telephone, or email. The term also includes e-counseling, which refers to therapeutic correspondence sent between counsellor and client via email or phone (with the camera turned off).
The rise of managed care in the 80s resulted in less funding for psychotherapy and a host of master’s level professions (such as Social Workers) willing to work for even less than Psychologists. This has led to Psychologists being squeezed between Psychiatry (prescription privileges) and Social Work (cheap therapy) and fighting for ground.
An advantage of Psychology online counselling is that it can be done at a client’s convenience and in the comfort of their own home or office. This may be particularly helpful for individuals who suffer from conditions such as social anxiety or agoraphobia, as it doesn’t require them to leave their own homes where they feel safest. It can also be easier for clients who travel for work or who have difficulty finding childcare to keep their appointments.
Another benefit of online counselling is that it can be a cost-effective option for clients. Many online counselors offer a sliding scale, meaning that their fees are based on the client’s financial situation. This can make it affordable for more people to access the care they need.
In addition, some online counselors are employed by agencies, which can give them standard pay and benefits and a regular schedule. In contrast, those who work in private practice are typically self-employed and may be limited to the hours they can commit to their clients.
In general, online counseling has been found to be as effective as face-to-face therapy for a variety of issues. However, the quality of the relationship between therapist and client is still an important factor to consider. The good news is that a strong therapeutic alliance can be formed through an online counseling relationship, as long as the therapist and client are both committed to working together. This is especially true when the therapist is trained in person-centered approaches. This style of therapy is most commonly used for clients with mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and trauma.