Can you really get the same benefit from counseling over the internet as you could from in-person therapy? The answer to this question depends what type of counseling you need, and in some cases, who you ask! As with any innovation there are those that question its worth, but the few studies that have evaluated the efficacy of counseling delivered over the internet or phone suggest that in some cases, such therapy is just as good as traditional in-person counseling (and a whole lot more convenient). Find out more about the pros and cons of online therapy and learn if it might be just what you’re looking for.
Whether you’re dealing with mental illness, relationship or family troubles or just need help in achieving greater life satisfaction, working through your problems (and finding solutions) with a professional counselor can be of real benefit.
You may have heard about online counseling and may be wondering what exactly it is, if it’s as good traditional ‘face to face’ counseling – and whether or not it’s a good option for you.
Well, like anything else, there are some pros and some cons to counseling delivered remotely, and since it’s a relatively new therapeutic practice, the experts don’t yet all agree on how and when it’s best used.
Read on to learn a little more about what online counseling is, some of the advantages (and disadvantages) of getting counseling from the comfort of your own home and what you need to be aware of before you give online counseling a try.
What Is Online Counseling?
In a traditional counseling session, you sit in the same room with your counselor, but in an online counseling session you sit wherever you please communicating remotely with your therapist over the internet or over the phone.
Some of the different forms of online counseling include:
- Email counseling – whereby you communicate back and forth via email messages with your therapist or counselor
- Instant messaging chat – where by you communicate in real time via text chat with your counselor – (sometimes a video window (web cam) is added)
- Telephone counseling – talking with your counselor over the phone during pre-arranged counseling sessions.
- VOIP – free internet ‘phone calls’ whereby you receive counseling over the phone. VOIP calls may have a video window as well, to aid in non verbal communication
- Avatar counseling – meeting with a counselor in a virtual world for a counseling session through avatars – Second Life, for example, or even in World of Warcraft!
- Online Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – semi or fully automated programs that provide CBT training
Online counselors provide the following types of therapy
- Marriage or relationship
- Anger or stress management
- Grief and loss
- Substance abuse
- Mental health therapy (anxiety, depression etc.)
- Life coaching or career counseling
- Christian counseling
- Sex and sexuality issues
- Dealing with illness or ageing
- Many more
Page last updated Sep 16, 2010