Our modern day life and living has become extremely chaotic and stressful. Everybody is busy with something or the other and is facing new challenges every now and then. All these circumstances are leading to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that need immediate attention. People are getting wrapped up in several personal problems making it impossible to seek support and guidance from others. The reasons are lack of time and adequate support infrastructure for good and professional counselling services.
In view of this situation, online or web counselling seems to be a better and easier way to seek help and guidance from trained professionals. With its easy accessibility, online counselling is fast becoming a popular and an alternative option to traditional face to face therapy.
What is Online Counselling?
Online Counselling, also known as e-therapy, cyber counselling, tele-therapy, web counselling is the health and wellness program being delivered through the internet. It is a professional support and assistance given to people seeking guidance and counselling for various mental health problems.
This can happen through video conferencing, online chatting, messaging or by using internet phone calls. Online counselling is fast gaining popularity as an alternative method of psycho therapeutic intervention because it is easy to access. Moreover, it is filling the unmet needs of the clients located in remote areas; who are underserved by the traditional counselling services.
The Need of Online Counselling:
Nowadays, there is a growing wave of online therapy because it is available anytime and anywhere, according to the convenience of the clients. Online counselling helps to navigate and move through difficult life situations. The counsellor can comfort the client in adverse times by giving emotional support and teaching them coping skills to feel better under stressful circumstances.
In all the developed and developing nations of the world, online counselling is popular because the service delivered is prompt, accessible, and comfortable. The delivery method is fast and easy, it is cost effective. The basic counselling and mental health services can reach diverse groups of vulnerable communities in an easier and faster way.
Benefits of Online Counselling:
Online counselling is highly effective in modern times, when life has become too hectic and people hardly get enough time to invest and participate in health and wellness programs. Web counselling is easily accessible for those who are busy and cannot go for a face-to-face counselling session. Thus, it is convenient both in terms of money as well as time.
The key benefits of online counselling are:
1. It is good for people staying in far off places or remote geographical locations; where access to good mental health support and care is not available.
2. The counselling sessions are good for busy people who cannot take time out of their busy schedule to book an appointment and keep by it in a clinic set up. They can opt for online option, as it can be accessed through phone, tablet and do not require a definite place.
3. It is quick and easy, if you have a good internet connection. You can log in from anywhere, anytime according to convenience.
4. Online counselling is beneficial for people who are physically disabled or home bound. As there is no need to travel, so it’s convenient.
5. It is fairly economic and affordable in terms of money and space. Since everything is related to the web, you can schedule the sessions as per your requirement and convenience.
6. Online therapy helps to reduce the stigma attached with mental illnesses. Tele-therapy helps to avoid unnecessary conversation with the so called well wishers, who are interested to know personal details. As it is followed from the comfort of your home, confidentiality is easily maintained, thus saves you from social embarrassment.
7. As the communication is internet based, it is easier for the patient or counselee to develop a good rapport with the therapist. Clients can be at ease and can ask questions to seek help and guidance from the counsellor. If the client is exchanging information by writing such as texting, e-mails, it happens to be cathartic. They will be able to explain their feelings in a lucid manner. Research backs this proposition that writing is cathartic and helps to heal deepest fears and emotional wounds.
8. With online counselling, clients share their problems openly, without hesitance and shyness that usually occurs during a face-to-face situation.
Common Types of Online Counselling:
Online counsellors can help clients in different ways. The most common types of online therapies are:
· Marriage counselling
· Career counselling
· Counselling for anxiety, depression, and substance abuse
· Relationship coaching
· Life skills counselling
· Trauma care and rehabilitation
· Child counselling for ADHD, Autism, and different types of learning disabilities
· Geriatric counselling
· Mental health and wellness programs in the form of support groups and webinars
· Suicide and loneliness prevention
Difference between Online and Face to Face Counselling Services:
Let’s analyze the key differences between these two counselling methods:
· Online counselling is done via internet, by the use of online chats, e-mails, internet calling, and video conferencing. On the other hand, face to face sessions happen primarily in a clinic set up of the counsellor at a particular time.
· In online sessions, the client can attend from their desired location and convenient timings. It is more user friendly. Face to face sessions are not that user friendly in terms of location preference and timings.
· Clients are free and easy going in an online set up. In face-to-face sessions, fear and embarrassment works and it takes time to feel at ease. The counsellor will have to do rapport building in a comprehensive way.
· In counselling through the web-based platforms, clients can remain anonymous, if desired. They can keep their identity hidden in front of the counsellor. This is not possible in face to face sessions.
Increasingly, online sessions are cost friendly and affordable. It is a highly convenient method of providing best mental health care and support to vulnerable individuals. Research studies have shown that people prefer online mode of counselling more than the traditional face to face sessions. It has become the best Mental Health Service to serve communities better.