What is online counselling? And does it work?
Online counselling gives you the opportunity to speak to a therapist or counsellor online, without having to meet them face to face. Also known as internet counselling, e-counselling, web therapy or remote therapy, this kind of counselling is a good solution for people who need counselling but cannot get to a therapist’s office or those who prefer to keep in contact at a distance from wherever they are. Online counselling can provide a valuable service to you if you require therapeutic help but have shied away from it before, due to either emotional or practical reasons.
Why do people use online counselling?
Many of our clients make use of online counselling due to issues such as:
- Lack of time – they are unable to schedule an office-based appointment or travel to see a counsellor or therapist
- Physical hurdles – these may prevent them from travelling easily
- Shyness or embarrassment – they prefer to keep their counselling session online and remote because it feels more confidential and discreet
- Agoraphobia or social anxiety – numerous phobias and mental health issues may prevent clients from travelling or spending time in new environments
- During the current COVID19 crisis this is the only safe way for vital counselling services to be delivered. This has brought to light some peoples concerns about the effectiveness of online or “e-counselling”.
One of the biggest concerns about online therapy is that therapists don’t have an opportunity to observe the patient – something that is usually integral to an assessment and diagnosis. Tone of voice, body language, and overall demeanour provide insight into an individual’s well-being. A major component to effective therapy involves the relationship between the therapist and the patient, and online therapy can be impersonal. However, we offer remote video appointments for those who feel they would benefit from this more than a telephone appintment.
Counselling online and remote therapy is just as effective?
Numerous studies have found online counselling and remote therapy to be just as effective as visiting a counsellor or therapist face to face. Some clients who have the time for face to face therapy even prefer online counselling because they find it gives them more flexibility and comfort.
What does the Science Say?
Despite the concerns, research consistently shows that online treatment can be very effective for many mental health issues. Here are the results of a few studies:
- A 2014 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that online treatment was just as effective as face-to-face treatment for depression.
- A 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders found that online therapy is, “effective, acceptable and practical health care.” The study found the online cognitive behavioural therapy was equally as effective as face-to-face treatment for major depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
- A 2014 study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy found that online cognitive behavioural therapy was effective in treating anxiety disorders. Treatment was cost-effective and the positive improvements were sustained at the one-year follow-up.
Is it very technical?
No… nowadays it is very simple to communicate online with your therapist. You can use a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone wherever you are and your counsellor will speak to you via an easy-to-use, secure service, like Zoom or Whatsapp.
Your session will still be arranged in advance at a time to suit you and you can decide whether you’d like your therapist to see you via a video call or just talk over the phone instead. We can help you download any applications before hand if you decide you would rather a video session.
So why not experience the benefits of counselling from the comfort of your home yourself?
There are all kinds of reasons why people choose online counselling, but many find the experience is more discreet and confidential. They feel that being able to experience counselling from the comfort of their own home or office is less embarrassing and allows them to discuss personal issues more openly without feelings of guilt or shame. Instead, they can use a mobile phone, laptop or desktop computer and talk in a room where they know they will not be overheard.
During this period of high stress, anxiety and uncertainty is now the right time for you to start looking after your mental health? We have had great feedback from patients currently choosing remote therapy due to COVID-19 restrictions. We also offer a free consultation for those of you who would like to trial the remote service first or find out more information before booking.
Therapy advise is always available, even if its just a quick chat you need over the telephone with a health professionals. Please email or call our team for any help or advice.
Office number – 0151 345 6823
Office email – [email protected]