online therapy online counselling

by Sally Hunt, specialist counsellor

Online Therapy / Online Counselling

Online therapy and online counselling are also known as teletherapy, virtual therapy, tele counselling and phone counselling. These forms of therapy have become increasingly popular and accessible, particularly since Covid.

They offer several advantages and some drawbacks. Here is my breakdown for you to consider which choice to make. The pros and cons:

Advantages of Online Therapy / Online Counselling

Accessibility. Online therapy/counselling allows you to access counselling/therapy services from your home or office. This is an advantage to people living in remote areas or anyone with mobility issues.

Wider choice of Therapists (with different specialities). By going online there is a wider choice of therapists and it will be easier to find a counsellor who specialises in your subject.

Convenience and Flexible scheduling.  Virtual counselling eliminates the need for travel time, making it more convenient for people who have job commitments or have a loaded schedule. It will be easier to fit into a schedule.

Anonymity and Privacy. Some people feel more comfortable discussing personal issues in the privacy of their own space. Online therapy can provide a sense of anonymity that may encourage people to open up more.

Cost. If you live in an expensive area, you may find costs to be lower with a counsellor who does not have to pay for expensive counselling rooms.

Drawbacks of Online Therapy / Online Counselling

Technology Issues. Not everyone gets on easily with a computer. Technical problems can easily occur with poor internet connection video or sound. I use Zoom, Google Meet and Skype. You can use these from your computer, tablet or even phone.  I am happy to use just the phone if that is what you would prefer.

Body language and facial expressions. The lack of Non-Verbal Cues can impact the therapist. It is quite easy to see facial expressions but body language is not so easy. These are important to a counsellor in their ability to pick up cues and signs from you.

Difficulty Establishing Rapport. Building a strong relationship with your counsellor is important. It can be more challenging in an online setting compared to face-to-face session.

Security and Privacy Concerns. People have concerns, but the major products of Zoom, Meet and Skype are all secure products.

Be aware of distractions at Home. This is important. It is easy to be distracted or interrupted. You need to be able to shut yourself in a room for an hour with interruptions.

In summary

Some counsellors will only offer therapy by Zoom, others will only offer face-to-face. I see about half of my clients by video, the rest come to my counselling rooms.

Being a specialist I think the ability to offer online counselling has helped people find me for their particular requirement.

The choice is yours.