Wondering if there is a ‘psychologist near me’? Why not take online counselling.

The Pros and Cons, everything you should know.  

Effectiveness of Online Counselling versus ‘Psychologist Near Me’ for Face to Face Counselling:

The debate on online counselling versus face-to-face counselling has been going on for some time now. Research suggests online therapy and counselling to be an effective medium to deliver therapy and counselling. One such research found online therapy and treatment to be equally effective as face-to face-counselling for depression.

Another study also found similar results where online counselling and therapy was as effective as face-to-face counselling for depression and anxiety.

Here are some points to draw conclusions from this debate -

- Advantages of Online Counselling: 

      ·       Convenient:
Online therapy is easily accessible through your phone, laptop or tablet and you can get connected with a counsellor/psychologist right from where you are. All you need is a good internet connection. Even people from remote areas can get in touch with a psychologist without travelling miles. This easy accessibility and convenience of online counselling is making it a first choice to get help for mental health issues. 

      ·       Affordable:
Online therapy is more economical for both client and counsellor as there are lesser overheads in terms of a physical premise, transportation, rents, etc. 

      ·       Anonymity:
The clients can choose to stay anonymous and as a result, less bias in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, physical appearance, etc. Anonymity also facilitates openness to express about one’s personal life which might be restricted in face-to-face counselling. 

      ·       Reduced Social Stigma:
Online therapy cuts the need to be physically present at places such as, the therapist clinic, waiting areas, etc. As a result, people don’t hesitate to seek help as they can choose to remain anonymous and still be able to communicate with a Mental Health Professional without getting uncomfortable. 

      ·       Different Ways to Communicate:
Online therapy allows the client to get in touch with the counsellor via different communication channels such as texting, emailing or audio-video sessions. This gives the clients a choice as per their comfort level. They can express their thoughts and feelings without any inhibitions especially through text messages. In fact, expressing their thoughts, worries, fears and feelings through writing can in itself be therapeutic and relieving. 

In addition to these advantages, online therapy also has advantages specific to the counsellors and therapists. Online therapy has advantages for psychologists, therapists, counsellors and other Mental Health Professionals in terms of convenience, lower costs, no overheads, time saving and supplementing income substantially.

- Limitations of Online Counselling: 

      ·       No Physical Contact:
As a result of no physical contact, the counsellor misses on important verbal and non-verbal cues that can provide important insights into the client’s problems. Observing the physical aspects of the client is an essential feature of face-to-face counselling and this can limit the therapy process. However, a partial solution to this limitation lies in audio-video sessions also provided at Rich Psych.

      ·       Counsellor Credibility:
The client may not be able to verify the credentials and qualifications of the counsellors and therapists and hence as a result feel exploited. Only a few credible online counselling platforms including Rich Psych have stringent criteria for counsellor selection. 

      ·       Technological Limitations:
Technology and internet can act inconsistent and as a result have a negative impact on the counselling process. For example, bad internet can disrupt the communication between the client and counsellor, thereby affecting the counselling process. Additionally, people may vary in their skills and knowledge in computer and hence find it difficult to get help through online counselling.

      ·       Ethical Issues:
Online counselling is not meant for a crisis situation where the client needs instant help or emergency situation like suicide. Here, it might become very difficult for the counsellor to act and hence is not a suitable form of therapy during such scenarios. 

So, if still wondering, is Online Therapy as good as talking Face-to-Face with a counsellor? Well, certainly the scope of online counselling and therapy is increasing day by day. On one hand, it has some inherent limitations but on the other it is full of brighter possibilities to deliver Mental Health Services. Hence, both psychologists and people should be aware of the advantages and limitations of this form of counselling and therapy.

Considering Online Counselling and Therapy? Get connected with a Counsellor.