Even before the rise of COVID made it more difficult to maintain in-person appointments, many people were choosing to try online counselling and see if it worked for them. Each person has a unique reason for wanting to try it out, and it’s definitely not suited for everyone – but there’s no denying that many people prefer it over more traditional sessions. With plenty of services, apps, and subscriptions to work around almost any schedule and budget, it’s not hard to see why this mode of therapy has gained so much popularity in the last few years.
But as it’s become more common, you have likely wondered if it’s effective and whether it’s worth the trouble. So today, let’s find out: what are the benefits of online counselling?
Online Counselling is Convenient
This is likely the biggest benefit of all. Modern life can get very busy, with work, school, errands, family, relationships, and hobbies, and for some people, squeezing in the time to go across town to a therapy session is nearly impossible. Online counselling is much more flexible – sometimes even offering 24/7 service – which makes it a perfect fit for busy lifestyles.
Many people who live outside major urban centres also rely on online counselling, reducing the need for long drives (and lots of money spent on unnecessary fuel). Since most people have smartphones now, too, counselling can come to you almost anytime, anywhere.
Online Counselling Costs Less
Generally speaking, online therapy costs less, but it depends on the exact setup you have. If you are doing online telehealth sessions with your regular licensed psychologist, the cost will likely be comparable to regular sessions, with someone who knows you well and is familiar with your situation. If you use a subscription service or membership platform, such as Talkspace or BetterHelp, you must pay monthly or weekly fees, regardless of if you’ve used the service or not.
Overall, if you feel you will be using online counselling quite a bit, the price can be very cost-effective. Just make sure you know what you’re signing up for!
Downsides of Online Therapy
While pursuing therapy sessions online has benefits, it also has some limitations you should be aware of. For many people, physically going to a mental health professional is more than just an informal visit; it’s a chance to socialize, get out of the house, and reinforce a consistent, positive habit. It helps separate seemingly monotonous days into discrete parts, subtly establishing therapy as a different place where problems can be overcome. If you are doing every session from the same place where you work, eat, and sleep, it may feel uninspired.
There are also certain issues that are treated much better in person than over a digital connection – issues like suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and addiction treatment, among many others. On top of that, things like body language and social cues are much easier to miss, leading to potential misunderstandings on both sides. And don’t forget privacy limitations, either: since everything is happening over a network, there is always a chance of people overhearing nearby, or even leaked information and data.
Will Online Counselling Work for Me?
While we can offer advice, this is a question that only you are able to answer! If you’ve never tried it before, it may be worth attempting a few sessions so that you can get a feel for it. This will help you decide if you can feel the benefits of online counselling working in the longer term, or if you prefer a more personal touch.
The good news is that there are more options for online counselling than ever. Between scheduled appointments with regular therapists, on-demand subscription platforms, and apps, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to narrow down the methods that suit you best. Whatever you choose, the most important thing is that you get the support you need in order to live a healthy, mindful, and fulfilling life.
We know it sounds cliché, but remember – if you have any other questions or you ever need to talk about it, just let us know!