When you think of counseling and psychotherapy, what comes to mind?
Traditionally, psychotherapy consisted of going to a counselor’s office, sitting or lying down on a comfortable couch, and pouring your heart out to your counselor. It was your counselor’s job to not only listen to your struggles, but to also ask you relevant questions and provide helpful insights to help guide you towards a successful outcome.
Fast-forward to the modern digital age, and the counseling scene has changed dramatically. While in-person counseling still has its time, place, and benefits, it is being supplemented (and in some cases replaced) by online counseling. In my career as a mental health counselor, I have held both in-person and online sessions with my clients. While I appreciate the advantages both scenarios offer, today I want to look specifically at the successes of online counseling.
Advantages Of Online Counseling
Some people assume that counseling must be done in-person in order for it to be effective, based on the assumption that the therapist relies heavily on visual cues to guide the session. While it’s true that visual cues can be helpful, research shows that therapy sessions held exclusively online are often equally as effective – and sometimes even more effective – than in-person sessions. Online therapy sessions can be conducted via email, instant messenger, or video chat platforms. Here are a few advantages online counseling offers.
While there is a significant movement to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness, the fear of being judged is still a heavily influencing factor in a person’s decision to seek therapy. Many people are afraid to go to therapy because they are worried that someone they know will somehow find out (for example, someone may see their car in the therapist’s parking lot). Online therapy enables people to meet in the comfort and confidentiality of their own homes, so these fears are more easily overcome.
Ease Of Access
To someone battling with severe depression or anxiety, the prospect of leaving their home and driving to a therapist’s office – or in some cases, even leaving their beds – can seem impossibly overwhelming. For this reason, some of the people who are most in need of therapy are the ones who cannot muster up the energy required to seek it out. Online therapy eliminates this particular challenge, since clients can “meet” with their therapists from anywhere – even their beds!
How often do you hear about people ending romantic relationships via text or email? This modern phenomenon is a prime example of the way that people commonly resort to texts and emails when having difficult conversations, rather than deal with the challenges of face-to-face communication. Therein lies one of the biggest advantages of online counseling – it is easier for people to write messages about their deepest scars, fears, and challenges than it is to say them aloud in front of someone else. By conducting our conversations via instant messenger or email, we are able to get past the challenges that in-person communication presents.
The Success Of Online Counseling
A few years ago, the University of Zurich conducted a study of 62 patients struggling with moderate depression. These patients were randomly divided into two groups. Each group received eight successive counseling sessions. One group received in-person counseling, and the other group received online counseling via email and instant messenger. The results were staggering:
- 53% of patients treated online were no longer diagnosed with depression, compared to only 50% of the patients treated in person.
- At the end of the study, 57% of the patients who received online therapy were depression-free, compared to 42% of the patients who received in-person therapy.
- Follow-up sessions found that recovery rates remained higher in individuals who had received online counseling.
Contact Me To Schedule Your Online Therapy Session!
I know how difficult taking the first step can be. My goal is to help you accomplish your goals. Together, we can work towards positive changes to help you better understand and resolve the challenges in your life. No two paths are alike, and I welcome the opportunity to devise the perfect strategies for your unique situation.
If you are located in Michigan, you can connect with me via my primary website: www.NeverGiveUp.care. If you are located elsewhere within the United States, we can connect via my affiliation with Better Help. Access my Better Help profile here.
Let us work together to accomplish your goals. Never give up!!
Samantha M. Ruth, Transformational Psychologist