What is Online Therapy?
The Internet is evolving daily, with respect to technology and its impact on various disciplines. It has rapidly become a popular resource for Counselling Therapy and Coaching services.
Online Therapy consists of the Therapist conducting counselling sessions with the client via the internet. Support can be accessed via Email Therapy, Instant Chat Messenger Therapy, Webcam and VoIP Therapy (voice chat over the internet, e.g. Skype). Many people worldwide find online therapy and coaching, as well as Telephone Therapy, to be an ideal way to discuss life's challenges, personal concerns and emotional problems. It allows you to access to help without the inconvenience of travelling to where your Therapist is located.
The Benefits of Online Therapy
Online Therapy can be affordable, many clients describe it as less daunting than face to face sessions. You can receive support as an anonymous client. There is no long waiting time, all sessions can take place after booking, it is very convenient. You have the added benefit of communicating with your Online Therapist from the comfort of your own home and:
- It's available worldwide throughout the 7 day week
- There are no long wait times
- Sessions are cheaper than face to face therapy
- You can type a question or comment and receive a response straight away
- You can save a copy of your chat session/email and re-read it
- It is beneficial to couples, families and groups (via group Instant chat)
- It can be accessed from home, work, or even while travelling
- You have the option to remain anonymous.
- It is convenient if you are housebound
- If you relocate or travel you will still have access to the service.
Research about Online Therapy
A lot of research has gone into the effectiveness of Counselling. Studies have proven the positive effects. Online Therapy can be a healthy way of coping with difficult and distressing life situations. Client satisfaction surveys tend to demonstrate a "high level of client satisfaction" with video conferencing and online counselling. World Journal of Psychiatry.
University of Zurich conducted a study of 62 patients and found that Depression was reduced in 53% of those given Online Therapy. Only 50% was reduced for those who had face to face Counselling. Three months after completing the study, 57% of Online Therapy patients no longer had signs of Depression compared to just 42% who had face to face counselling. — Journal of Affective Disorders, 2013.
Research from G.S. Stofle and J. suggests that "Online Counselling would benefit people functioning at a moderately high level. Severe situations, such as suicidal ideation or a psychotic episode, might be better served by traditional face-to-face methods, although further research may prove otherwise".
It is important to note that Online Therapy is not suited for clients experiencing a suicidal crisis or suffering from severe mental health illness. It is advised that if you are suicidal you contact emergency services. You may also reach out to the Samaritans or Befrienders Worldwide. Kendra Cherry, an Educational Consultant, Author and Rehabilitation expert with a Masters in Education and a Degree in Psychology shares some advantages and disadvantages of Online Therapy.
As the main goal of Counselling is to alleviate the distress, Anxiety or concerns experienced by a client when he or she enters Therapy has strong efficacy under that definition. Most people will experience a feeling of relief very early on in the Counselling process. Having the opportunity to express thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental, supportive atmosphere is most beneficial. A longer course of Online Therapy enables the client and Therapist to look at deeper issues, this can eventually bring about a greater self-awareness for the client and the enhanced ability to face life's challenges.