Text Size
Smaller
Bigger

Sometimes, online counseling meets a valued need:

  • If you live in a rural town – online counseling may be the only way you can access mental health services
  • If you're very concerned about anonymity, online therapy may assuage your secrecy concerns
  • If you're a person that works an erratic and busy schedule, email therapy may offer you a chance to get help, without committing to a scheduled appointment.

Online counseling offers a lot to a lot of people, but although online counseling offers unprecedented access to services, convenience and anonymity, it's still far from a perfect solution, not right for everyone and still entails some risk.

Some of the Disadvantages of Online Counseling Include:

  • Typing speed can limit the conveyance of information in chat based sessions. Sometimes people say less when writing than they would when speaking; reducing the amount of information available for the therapist to work from.
  • People may find it difficult to put complex thoughts and emotions into written words. People have different skills as expressive writers
  • There is a greater chance of miscommunication between client and therapist. Therapists cannot as easily access body language information (even when using video chat). Counselors are therefore at a greater risk of missing important non-verbal cues
  • Online counselors are not able (ethically) to work with people in immediate crisis or with serious psychiatric illness. In these situations, counselors must be on-site to observe the client in person and evaluate the degree of risk and the best continuing course of action.
  • Although all legitimate therapists must abide by confidentiality and privacy constraints, online therapy may pose a greater security risk than in-person sessions. Someone could breach your computer, your wifi point, your therapist's computer – etc; and since what you reveal may be very sensitive, privacy issues are significant.
  • Insurance companies rarely cover the costs of online counseling.
  • It may be easier for unscrupulous illegitimate/uncertified counselors to operate online. Some online counseling clients may be putting themselves at risk of, at best, wasted money, and at worst, dangerous mental health advice. Even legitimate therapists operating from other countries (or even from other states) may not require the same standard of certification. Due diligence is necessary, when retaining the services of an online counselor.
  • Medication cannot be prescribed after an online counseling session.
  • An unreliable internet connection may interrupt the flow and delivery of the therapy.
Email It Send this page Print It Print friendly page Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category

Page last updated Apr 06, 2011

Creative Commons License
Copyright Notice
We welcome republishing of our content on condition that you credit Choose Help and the respective authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Call Now for
Rehab Options
Insurance Accepted
(Except Medicare)
Find Out About Online Rehab!
 
 
 

Join Thousands of Readers

who receive our weekly recovery newsletter.

Helpful Reading
Using the Web for Recovery Support
Fortifying Your Recovery Online - Making Full Use of Internet Recovery Resources © Ed Yourdon
One of the greatest things about recovery is that there's always something you can add. Online resources fortify your recovery. Read Article
Addiction Recovery March 13, 2014 (4)
Addiction Treatment Options - Pros and Cons
The Pros and Cons of Different Addiction Treatment Options © Danielle Zeda
This article outlines the different treatment options for alcoholism and drug addiction. It explains what each treatment is like and gives some of the pros and cons of each type of treatment. Read Article
Addiction Treatment April 03, 2013 (4)
7 Ways Technology Can Keep You Sober
7 Tips for Using Technology to Stay Clean and Sober © Amanky
7 tips and tricks for getting the most out of your phone, tablet and laptop as you work to maintain your recovery. Read Article
Addiction Recovery April 29, 2012
Find Help In...
Like Our Site? Follow Us!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.