Let’s face it – the Internet has become our haven. Being online has seamlessly integrated into our lives, whether for communication, shopping or attending events.
Similarly, extending this comfort to something as personal as mental health therapy has also been on the rise, especially since the 2020 pandemic.
Online Counselling is convenient and accessible, and you can easily receive therapy from the comfort of your home with a few clicks.
Yet, there are still some questions that linger when it comes to considering online counselling.
“Is it as good as in-person therapy?”
“How can online counselling benefit me over traditional therapy?”
“Should I opt for online therapy?”
And the BIGGEST question of all – “Does it work?”
With this article, we’ll uncover the undeniable benefits of online therapy and why it can be your right choice for mental health.
Top 5 Benefits of Online Counselling
1. Suits Your Schedule
Life is demanding, and there are a lot of commitments that you have to fulfil every day.
Usually, people neglect mental health because ‘it can wait’ or ‘I don’t have time.’ But, online therapy allows you to choose your time that adapts to your busy lifestyle. Moreover, traditional therapy sessions are often available only during regular business hours, which can conflict with your schedule.
Putting it differently, online therapy is flexible to your schedule and eliminates your commute time, making it easier to fit sessions into your busy life. Having said this, it is still crucial that you prioritize your consistency in therapy sessions.
2. Convenience and Accessibility If You Have Mobility Issues
Online counselling provides convenience and flexibility that traditional in-person sessions can’t match.
Teletherapy presents a significant advantage for individuals facing mobility challenges, such as physical disabilities or limited access to mental health services. With the simple requirements of an internet connection and a preferred device, counselling becomes accessible irrespective of location or time.
Moreover, this approach boasts cost-effectiveness, effectively rendering mental health support more convenient and attainable—a feat previously unachievable.
3. Finding the Right Therapist
Finding a therapist who meets your personal preferences and unique needs in your local area can be challenging. Perhaps you are looking for someone who specialises in specific concerns or works with particular populations.
Fortunately, online therapy can bridge this gap by allowing you to select a counsellor who matches your preferences, even if they are in a different city than you.
4. Increased Privacy and Anonymity
Therapy can be a daunting experience. Being vulnerable or sharing your fears and concerns isn’t always easy. Expressing your feelings in a strange or unfamiliar environment can be even more overwhelming.
People tend to express themselves more openly when they’re comfortable. For you, this may mean being in the comfort of your home rather than a therapist’s office. Moreover, you could also be dealing with sensitive or highly personal issues that you find easier to discuss online. Thus, online counselling creates a confidential and secure space for you to be vulnerable.
5. Easy Switch from Traditional Therapy
Things can become dynamic at some point in life and involve travel or relocation. It can be difficult to maintain a consistent therapy schedule when this happens.
However, virtual counselling can make this transition seamless and hassle-free. You can continue progressing and achieving your goals without the added stress of searching for a new therapist, regardless of location or travel plans.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
The benefits of online therapy sound promising, but does it really work?
Yes, it does. In fact, web-based counselling is just as effective as in-person therapy, and many people are now switching to virtual counselling. In fact, a study reported a 124% increase in “online counselling” searches during lockdowns.
Also, a study by the University of Zurich found that online counselling sessions have become increasingly popular through instant messaging, emails and video chats. And get this, online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was found to be just as effective as face-to-face CBT in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders.
CBT is a helpful way to work through negative thoughts, behaviours, and emotions. It is proven effective for many mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. With CBT, you learn strategies to help you cope and feel better emotionally, which can make a big difference in your overall functioning.
It’s important to remember that your sessions’ effectiveness depends on more than just the platform you use. Your therapist’s expertise, combined with your consistent efforts and the severity of your condition, all play a role in determining the success of your counselling.
So, take the time to find a qualified therapist and stay committed to the process – it can make all the difference in your mental health journey.
When Is Online Counselling May Not be Suitable?
While online counselling can be beneficial in many cases, there may be certain circumstances where alternative forms of therapy could be more effective.
1. Severe Mental Health Conditions
If you experience severe psychological disorders or trauma — chronic depression, psychosis, or suicidal thoughts — seeking in-person therapy may be more beneficial. It is particularly important for receiving intensive interventions and undergoing psychological assessments.
Online counselling may not be as suitable in these cases. That said, online counselling can still be a helpful resource for supplementing in-person therapy.
2. Specific Needs
When it comes to therapy, personalised attention is key – especially if you have certain disabilities requiring unique modifications and customised attention that may involve physical changes to the therapy space, visual aids, or assistive devices.
While online sessions can be helpful, there’s nothing quite like the direct sensory engagement of in-person sessions.
How to Prepare for Online Counselling?
Online counselling should be treated with the same commitment as you would for traditional face-to-face therapy. Preparing thoughtfully will create a successful and productive online therapeutic experience.
- Research and select a reputable online counselling platform or therapist that aligns with your needs and preferences. Ensure the platform offers secure and confidential communication.
- Ensure your internet connection, device, and any required software or apps are compatible and functioning properly.
- Find a quiet and comfortable space to engage in sessions without interruptions.
- Communicate with household members about your session times to avoid disruptions.
- Just as in traditional therapy, be open and honest with your online therapist about your concerns, goals, and feelings. Honesty promotes a deeper therapeutic connection.
- Discuss the format of sessions, communication methods, and any assignments or activities you should complete between sessions.
- Have a backup plan in case of technical issues, such as a phone number to contact your therapist or a secondary device to use if needed.
- Take time to reflect on what was discussed during the session and work on any assignments or exercises provided by your therapist.
In wrapping up, the benefits of online therapy stand out as a transformative way to experience mental health support. Its convenience, accessibility, and flexibility emphasise its efficacy in providing effective counselling. Determining if online counselling is right depends on your needs and preferences. Ultimately, you are the best judge of what will work well for you.
Thrive’s Online Counselling Services are excellent for those who value expertise, flexibility and convenience. You can receive professional support from the comfort of your own space through our secure virtual sessions. Take that important step towards positive change today by reaching out to us. Contact us to book your first session!
Carson Kivari is the Founder and Clinic Director of Thrive Downtown, with years of experience helping individuals and couples overcome anxiety, depression, and burnout. He guides clients on a journey of self-exploration and trauma release to find purpose, connection, and safety. Take the first step towards healing and contact Carson today to schedule a session.