Is online video counselling and psychotherapy right for you?
By now, it is likely that you have heard of online counselling, and may be wondering whether its right for you.
In the past, it was often difficult to get to help for mental health challenges. A lack of information and the stigma of visiting a psychologist would often get in the way.
For an increasing number of people help is becoming easier to find and use. Online video counselling has made finding and talking to a trained mental healthcare professional easier than ever.
Here, we try to answer the questions you might have.
Does online counselling work?
An important factor for you when deciding whether to use online therapy will be whether it works or not.
With advances in technology and training, online video counselling is more effective than ever, especially so when the right tools are used. Counsellors are also now more aware of when and when not to use online tools as part of their work.
Using a high quality and secure video connection a therapist is able provide effective psychological care and counselling in the majority of cases.
Psychotherapists generally report that they can see and hear their client sufficiently well. This is especially true where both parties on the call are used to communicating online. Given the number of us that use Video Conferencing at work, or to “FaceTime” or “Skype” the family, many more of us are getting comfortable with online video each day.
Regulatory standards now usually require a therapist to offer you exactly the same standards and duty of care as would be afforded to you if you visited them in their own clinic. The only thing that changes is that you aren’t physically in their office. Being online should not equate to reduced standards if you use a reputable experienced online therapist.
Speaking more broadly, 65% of those surveyed in America report that their comfort levels with online and video technology are high enough that they would consider an online session for their next appointment with their medical practitioner.
Being able to book, pay and visit your therapist from the comfort of your home, or safe place is an added advantage for many. No more visiting a remote office, appointments squeezed into your working day, or worried that someone might see you. Instead with a few clicks you can browse available appointments, and have your appointment whenever, and from wherever you want. This is especially useful for those that suffer from any form of anxiety, or even those who don’t like making phone calls. Effective and affordable Psychology is now available.
Your Counsellor or Therapist will let you know if online counselling isn’t right for you
Generally online counselling is suitable for mood disorders where something is affecting your levels of happiness or is impacting your ability to achieve goals including sustain relationships and career objectives.
Anxiety, Depression, parenting, eating, sleeping, trauma, anger, relationship problems, family conflicts, self-esteem etc are all typical uses of online counselling.
Not everyone is suited to online video counselling. As with all forms of Psychology, your therapist will help you understand whether online appointments are right for you.
Online video counselling would not for instance be suitable for those affected by serious psychiatric disorders or experiencing thoughts of harming themselves or others. It is also not suitable for use in emergency situations.
What to look for when choosing your online counselling
Select a Counsellor who is experienced at using online counselling. They will know how to ensure your safety and confidentiality at all times. Importantly they will know when not to use online counselling, and how to communicate in a way that gets the very best.
An experienced online counsellor will be mindful that your use of Online Video Counselling should be known only to you and your counsellor, and will use a service that ensures that. Whilst offering great quality, and encrypted video conferencing, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and their equivalents have some weak spots that may leave evidence of your session behind. Better are those companies that use products that are able to achieve HIPAA standards (the regulatory standard covering technology used for medical practice). Example products that can meet this standard are VSEE and ZOOM, although others are available.
Getting ready for your online session
In order to get the best from the session that you have booked with your therapist you should find somewhere suitable for doing your sessions from. Typically this would be:
* A comfortable place
* Somewhere free from distractions
* Somewhere where you can be alone and your needs for confidentiality can be respected
Importantly you should make sure that you are ready for your call prior to your session. Generally this means checking that your device is connected to the internet with a faster enough link, and that you have downloaded any necessary applications or software. If you can FaceTime, Skype or watch Netflix or similar on your device it will almost certainly support your online video counselling or therapy session.
Generally your Therapist will tell you what you need to do in their welcome and appointment confirmation emails to you after you book. They may even send you a questionnaire for completion before your first session. If you have any queries, call their office before the start of your appointment. After all, you don’t want to waste the previous time that you have booked and paid for on getting a connection working.