Sometimes, there is no effective substitute for in- person therapy (psychiatric emergencies, severe mental health problems etc.) but in many cases, online counseling works just as well.
Additionally, since the therapist and the client need not meet in the same location, counselors can now access clients who previously had great difficulty getting mental health and wellness services, such as clients in very rural or remote locations or clients with disabilities that make leaving the house problematic.
Online counseling isn’t right in every situation and for every person, but it does serve a valid therapeutic need and can expand access to services to those that otherwise might not seek help.
Some Additional Advantages (Benefits) of Online Therapy Include:
- Easy Entry – subscribing to a session or 2 of online counseling, for a relatively low fee, requires less commitment to the therapeutic process than does in person therapy. It’s easier to get in, and if you don’t like it, it’s easier to get out. A person somewhat ambivalent about seeking help may be more likely to initiate therapy due to this lower perceived barrier to treatment entry, and this is a good thing.
- Anonymity – People seek the assistance of counselors and psychologists for myriad legitimate reasons, mostly so that they may live happier and more fulfilling lives, yet many people still associate seeing a “shrink” with severe mental illness only. Many people feel reluctant to visit a local counselor or psychologist out of a fear of “what other people may think.” Fortunately, online counseling offers apprehensive clients more complete anonymity, and so this can also decrease barriers to effective health services.
- Greater comfort for people who feel anxious in social situations – The greater distance between counselor and client can help people who feel apprehensive about real-world social situations open up and disclose fully. This can help to accelerate the therapeutic process.
- Greater convenience – Imagine the harried executive or busy stay at home parent; a person desiring some therapeutic assistance but with a responsibility schedule that makes committing to appointments difficult. Certain modes of online counseling, such as email based counseling, require almost no commitment to specific appointments and so can be squeezed into available blocks of time.
- Generally lower costs – While the costs of online counseling can vary greatly, in general, the per minute cost of internet mediated counseling is lower than in person therapy, a reflection of reduced practitioner expenses - after all, an online counselor may not need a public office, a fashionable waiting room, a secretary and cleaning staff to administer services over the internet.
- Allows for counseling Sessions with remotely located loved ones – why suspend needed couples counseling just because one member of the marriage is deployed overseas? With online counseling, multiple participants may join from multiple locations.
- Allows for targeted group therapy sessions with clients suffering from less common conditions. There may not be 6 other people near a client needing help with a particular condition/problem, but when geographical limitations are removed, finding others seeking like assistance becomes much easier.
- It provides you with a written transcript of your therapy session so that you can review and rethink the therapy as necessary.
Page last updated Apr 06, 2011