Online counseling is a no brainer. If you want to start improving your life, why let inconvenience stop you? If you are ready to work your way out of longstanding problems, waiting can eat up years. Sometimes things get even worse. But sometimes you can’t take time off work. Or it’s hard to coordinate a session time with your spouse. Maybe you don’t want to make a long drive into a counseling office. These things keep people stuck for years sometimes. But you no longer have to go to a therapist’s office and sit on a couch in order to feel better. We can shop in our pajamas now. They can 3-D print a car. And darn it, we can get good therapy just by picking up the phone or logging in on the the computer.
Online Counseling is Effective
Online therapy, “Skype Therapy,” “Telephone Counseling,” or “Telehealth.” Whatever name it goes by, distance counseling is simply a counseling session via video or phone. This way people who might have difficulty arranging a face-to-face session have easy access to the help they need. It can be very freeing to fit counseling appointments into your schedule.
Sometimes busy people hold back on going to therapy. Maybe you are already incredibly stressed out and busy. If you add a couple hours for babysitting, getting to and from an office, or taking a super long lunch, that may seem like to much. Obstacles like these keeps you from moving forward. But that one decision could block you from seeing things with a new, helpful perspective. It might block what otherwise might have made a big, positive difference in your life. That’s why online counseling or phone therapy sessions are becoming more and more common.
Does Online Counseling Work?
In short, yes! An online or phone session can offer huge benefits. Every person has what works best for them. I evaluate this during our first phone consultation to see if it’s a good fit. For some people, a face to face session over the internet is the natural choice. That way we can see each other. It feels more like an in person session, but without the driving or other hassles. For others, the phone is the very best option.
Online Counseling Gives You Choices!
You can duck out at lunchtime to the car to make a call. Call during the baby’s naptime. Or maybe even get the giant pile of laundry folded during counseling. These choices can make all the difference between putting counseling off to “some day” and getting started now. This can be important. I have seen, first hand, life changing benefits from a few phone calls. No therapy is ever guaranteed, and facing our problems can sometimes even make us feel worse before it gets better. That is part of the process. Finding the right therapist, the right time, and the right method is a very personal thing. But if online counseling gets you to take the first step on a new, better path, it might very well be a great decision.
The Benefits of Online Counseling
Finding a therapist you feel comfortable with, who understands you, is crucial. Online counseling allows the freedom to work with the best counselor for you, regardless of where in Illinois you live.
- Accessibility. Online or phone therapy eliminates the need to arrange and travel to an in-person session. For those with mobility issues, or couples with different schedules, this can be a big help.
- Flexibility. Going to be out of town for two weeks but don’t want to interrupt the flow of therapy? Online counseling can allow for continuity when it’s most needed. If you’d prefer to come to the office one week and do an online face to face the next week, we can do that.
- Fit. I repeat this often but that’s because it matters. Good therapy includes finding a good therapist, and most clients from the Chicago or Southern Illinois area don’t have the ability or the desire to make several hours of travel for counseling sessions with me. I can arrange for longer sessions to accommodate those who drive far. But online or phone counseling bridges that gap and allows you greater freedom of choice if travel time is a factor in making your decision.
Potential Drawbacks of Distance Counseling
Because of the lack of face-to-face contact, especially for sessions by phone, the inability to read body language and other nonverbal cues may make it difficult for some people or couples to feel understood. It can occasionally lead to misunderstandings as it can be tricky to judge the emotion behind what you’re saying when you cannot be seen. This is something we will need to discuss and be mindful during the session.
Technical issues can sometimes get in the way as well. Dropped calls, poor call quality, or lagging video can be a distraction if you don’t have access to reliable internet or a good cell phone connection.
What About Privacy?
Good question. Everyone in this day and age is wise to pay attention to minimizing the risks that come with all electronic communication. There is no question that telephone or online conversations pose a greater chance of privacy being compromised than in person meetings. That’s why I inform my clients about the risks of email, telephone, cell phone, internet and fax communication.
Can We Skype?
I do not use Skype for therapy. Instead, I use an online communication platform called Doxy.me that complies with the provisions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that regulates patient privacy and confidentiality for therapy providers. As a trained and certified distance counselor, I take the matter very seriously. Not everyone offering distance counseling is certified, trained, or up to date on how to help safeguard your privacy. I pledge to keep up to date on the process of ensuring our sessions are confidential.
Is Distance Counseling Right for You?
My goal is always to work with you to improve your life and help you make changes that empower you and lead to more peace and joy. The only way to know for sure if distance counseling is the right choice is to give it a try.