In the modern era, where stress, depression, and anxiety are present in every household, people are now more familiar with counselling. A counsellor is a professional who studies and understands human behavior and cognition. Mental disorders can influence both the brain and the body of people. Stress can cause acne and wrinkles on the face and can even prompt dryness. People often consider using the best face moisturizers to help their skin look better, but then they consult a counsellor to eliminate the root cause of the problem.
The world is currently going through a tough time. Due to the crisis of a virus (COVID-19), everyone has to remain in quarantine. This safety measure is causing an increase in stress and anxiety among human beings. People need counselling now more than ever, but they can't take in-person sessions. Counsellors are offering therapy through online sittings during the quarantine period. Students who study psychology or relevant subjects have also switched to online schools and so does their practical activities like that of understanding patient’s behaviors through online sessions.
Now the question that arises is that whether online counselling is as helpful as in-person counselling?
Here are some factors you should consider:
The License of the Counsellor:
The license of the counsellor you consult should be your priority. As in-person counselling takes place in the office, you can easily verify the permit of the counsellor.
However, in online sessions, it is possible that the counsellor doesn't have a license and still claims to have one.
The license of every state is separate. A counsellor cannot practice in more than one state without a permit of both. You need to keep these facts in mind when consulting a professional and verify them before-hand.
Protection of a client's privacy during a counselling session is mandatory by the HIPPA. According to the law, the counsellor has to keep the information you share with them to themselves. They cannot share them at any cost.
Not sharing the personal data of a patient is the first lesson a counsellor learns, and it is not only against the law but also against basic ethics.
However, some sites don't protect your information, so you should be careful about the consultant you choose. Make sure the platform you consult uses encryption to safeguard your data.
An individual needs to have a reliable technique for communicating with the counsellor. During in-person counselling, the counsellor can study and examine the patient through facial expressions and body language with ease.
However, for online counselling, it is not as easy as face to face interaction. The counsellor has to have exceptional skills during a session on phones. The therapist has to understand the patient with nonverbal communication.
The most effective way of communication during online sessions is video chat. This way provides the closest proximity to proper interaction and makes it easier for the counsellor to study his patient.
Cost of the Session:
The cost of counselling sessions may vary for some platforms, and these are mostly the ones advertising low prices. Look out for such websites.
Some firms provide insurance and cover teletherapy in it. These counsellors charge the same for both in-person and online sessions. Other firms offer subscriptions that include several sessions, and these subscriptions may be monthly or weekly.
A subscription seems like an advantage, but you should still prefer a firm providing insurance.
The Convenience of Online Sessions:
Online sessions are better for you in terms of convenience because you can log in to an app or a website and start your sessions from anywhere in the world. This process saves you from making a whole trip to the counsellor's clinic.
Counsellors giving online sessions provide a manageable schedule that allows you to adjust your timetable according to your preference.
Online counselling is also convenient for disabled people, patients without access to proper transportation, and other issues.
The Effectiveness of these Sessions:
Many pieces of research suggest that online counselling and in-person counselling provide the same quality of effectiveness. If the counsellor treats patients with a productive method, they can cure mental disorders like depression and stress.
Many people don't prefer online counselling due to their personal opinions and other circumstances. These reasons may vary, some people prefer face-to-face interactions, and some have a rather severe psychological disorder.
Despite the disadvantages, online counselling is helpful in many ways. Many people prefer staying at home as it provides them with a sense of comfort. This fact can also play a role in reducing stigma in the patient.
The facts above are useful to have a better understanding of what online counselling is and what are its benefits and disadvantages.