Online counselling or e-therapy has become more and more popular over the last few years. It now comes in many forms such as, email, text, or video conferencing like Zoom or Skype.
There are many benefits to online counselling, mainly convenience and affordability. Because online counselling can be accessed anywhere where there is a decent internet connection it makes it incredibly convenient and accessible to those who may be living in remote areas or in times like this, where meeting in person is much more difficult, online counselling offers a great alternative. Furthermore, it’s often more affordable because counselors may not have the overhead costs such as office rental fees to may for if they are working from home. There also could be a wider range of choices and services provided. In my counselling practice I offer the option to email me between sessions for extra support, and psychoeducation that can come in the form of videos, articles, and books as I value the importance of understanding and broadening our knowledge and I also can provide resources and referrals to other services if needed.
I would like to highlight that there are limitations to online counselling:
- It could be more difficult to read body language which is incredibly important in counselling.
- There may be times that internet connection is not secure, in this case, switching over to a phone call is an option during a session.
- It is not appropriate for serious psychiatric disorders.
- It is not appropriate for crisis situations.
I will be honest, online counselling may present as challenging. I myself have been rather resistant to online counselling in the past. It wasn’t until I started seeing a counselor over Zoom that I truly saw that there is so much therapeutic value that can be experienced through an online platform. It doesn’t have to be restricted to just in person interactions. With that being said, having a secure internet connection is important. Some of us may be at home, where we have family or we may live with roommates and it could be difficult to create a safe and quiet space for one on one online counselling sessions. What is great about this dilemma though is that it creates an opportunity to exercise boundaries and self-respect. Ultimately, craving out this time for yourself, creating a safe and quiet space amid the chaos that could be within your home is an act of self-love. Look at that, our work has already begun.
Strength Counselling. (2018). The Benefits of Online Counselling. https://strengthcounselling.ca/2018/09/22/the-benefits-of-online-counselling/
Good Therapy. (2020). Rules and Ethics of Online Therapy. https://www.goodtherapy.org/for-professionals/software-technology/telehealth/article/rules-and-ethics-of-online-therapy