The coronavirus brought a lot of changes in different areas of our living, that also include the counselling sessions with a therapist or even our regular meetings with a psychologist or a life coach. According to Caroline Bronte, counselling is something that we choose when we have difficulties to embrace something new in our life, and these sessions help us to resolve the problems that keep us awake at night.
Like everything else, counselling and therapy also moved online during the pandemic, and sure it’s very practical for those who want to choose a therapist from a different city or need to travel a long time until they reach them. Online therapies have a lot of advantages and disadvantages, and here in this article, we will try to analyze every possible aspect of it.
So, let’s start with the pros:
1. You can choose any therapist you want
Online therapies are allowing us to get in touch with every therapist who is offering this type of service. If you think there is no good enough counselor near you, you can always go for someone from another area. You only need to call them to make sure they are providing that. Both of you need to have a great Internet connection so that can work out properly.
2. People with disabilities can access it
These people, especially those with physical disabilities, may have a lot of benefits of easy-accessible counselling and therapy. They need to take care of their mental well-being, and the limitations some places have can be frustrating to them. Thanks to online options, they are able to have regular sessions with the therapist they prefer.
3. It’s usually more affordable
Since you don’t need to go out of your house, take a taxi, or use public transport, you are saving money on that at the first moment. Online sessions are usually cheaper than physical ones, and no one is at risk of getting infected with the coronavirus, which is the main benefit of this type of counselling. No matter if you pay for private service or the insurance is covering it for you, it’s still more affordable than physical presence at the therapist’s office.
4. It may be more comfortable than the physical one
Some people may have panic attacks when they have to openly talk about their problems. Online therapies are more comfortable for them because they can be at home while they are facing their problems and look for solutions for them. No one is saying it’s easy to open up about your personal issues, especially not to some stranger you are paying to help you, but online sessions give a subjective feeling of anonymity, and it comes more naturally to the patient to open up.
Now, let’s see what are the disadvantages of online counselling:
1. Technology is not always reliable
We can’t completely hold onto technology, because the Internet may go down in a very important moment, your battery may die, or the online platform may have some issues, so you won’t get a complete service. Today’s technology is usually stable, but we all know that it may simply stop working at some moment. This may be a huge con, especially if you need regular sessions with your therapist.
2. Insurance may not cover it
Most of the patients or people in need choose private counselling, but sometimes there is an option for the insurance pack to cover it. But, if you choose a therapist from a different area or even country, that may not apply. So, you must calculate your money precisely, and see what you can afford. The expenses for your counselling may become very big, and you must be aware of that.
3. Lack of body language
Body language is important, and your therapist may learn a lot about you by just monitoring your movements and the way you behave. That makes online therapy not appropriate for serious issues the patient may have. Some of them may choose even phone therapy, instead of using video, and that is making the whole process more complicated for both the therapist and client. Online therapy is very limited, no matter how practical it initially looks.
4. Not appropriate for serious issues
Some conditions need to be treated in person. The counselling expert may not be able to help anyone if they can’t see them, and the way they behave. This disadvantage is highly related to the previous one, but also, serious mental issues should be treated properly, in an appropriate hospital, doctor’s office, or institution. This option is good for those who have some private issue or need advice on how to proceed with something. But, if you or someone you know is fighting some bigger war, they need to do that in person, with a certified therapist, so the whole process can be successful.
The pandemic is teaching us a lot of new things for life. We are learning how to work remotely, how to spend time with our family when we can’t really do that, or how to stay connected with the people that are important to us. All the answers are concentrated in the word “online”. We are shopping online, we make video calls, and even get a doctor’s treatment on phone, because we must respect the recommendations for social distancing.
Also, the whole situation had some positive effects on people. Just a year ago, many people considered asking for professional help as a sign of weakness. Now, most of us know that sometimes we need someone who will be objective with us and tell the truth because the people we love and who love us usually choose not to tell the whole truth to us. Online counselling is becoming more and more popular, and we can expect it will become a huge thing in the future. But, we must remember what is it appropriate for, and when we should avoid it, following the recommendations from this article.