It Happens All The Time
It’s not as uncommon as it once was for people to do counseling over the Internet or by phone. In-office sessions are still the norm, but many people are starting to embrace the convenience of telemental health. Sometimes referred to as Skype therapy or online counseling, distance counseling offers some pretty big benefits that are catching on.
What not everyone realizes, though, is that it can also be even more helpful for couples than for individuals. Why? For one major reason: it’s way harder to coordinate travel and schedules for two people than it is for one. People often put off or don’t even go to couples counseling because of that. The headaches of getting time off, babysitters, juggling schedules and travel for two people who are at two different jobs, or one at home, is much bigger than one person figuring out how to carve out an hour here and there.
(If you’re new to this site, I want to reiterate that I do not specifically use Skype for online counseling, but instead I use a HIPAA compliant platform called Doxy.me because it allows me to meet federal privacy and confidentiality guidelines.)
Here’s An Example
Let’s say one of you works in downtown Chicago and the other is traveling to Peoria for work. Obviously setting up an in office therapy session is going to be out of the question. It’s no big deal if it stops you for this week. But what if you’re having some major problems, or your relationship is in a very vulnerable state? Getting to therapy can mean the difference between a strong, healthy relationship or a slippery slope to breaking up. If nothing else, putting off therapy can sometimes mean living in a state of stress and pain for days, weeks, months and years. But if you could schedule just one hour, where you can each log in or phone in to a therapist for an hour, counseling can get started.
How does this work? If you’ve ever used three way calling, it’s pretty much the same thing but with video. Someone logs in from one location, a second person from another, and I call up both of you on my screen. (I also offer sessions via telephone if getting to a computer screen is not possible.)
I also have an online intake system so you can fill out the minimal paperwork ahead of time. Payment is through credit card, which I also process online. And I am in the process of being able to offer online scheduling as well.
The bottom line is this: if the travel time, gas, work schedule, kids schedule, car repairs, distance, or other obstacle might have kept you from getting to work on building a better relationship, it doesn’t have to anymore.
Margie Wheelhouse is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Springfield, Illinois, but her “office” is anywhere you have a phone or computer, from the top of southern Illinois all the way up to her hometown of Oak Park. She loves helping couples to build great relationships and repair broken ones.