Online Psychological counseling is also known as e-therapy, e-counseling or cyber counseling, is a relatively new development in mental health in which a therapist and counselor provide psychological advice and support over the internet. This can conduct with the help of email, video conferencing, online chat, messaging, or internet phone. Distance communication between a therapist and client is not a new concept. A psychologist named Sigmund Freud utilized letters extensively to communicate with his clients. Self group began emerging on internet as early as 1982. Today, there are so many websites offering mental health information as well as e-therapy clinics. The growth in online counseling and mental health services has led to the foundation of the International Society of Mental Health Online. This dramatic rise in the availability of online health care has led to a need for information and guidelines for clients interested in receiving mental health services via the internet. Online counseling is the provision of professional mental health counseling services through the internet. Some client’s use online counseling in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy, or nutritional counseling and a growing number of clients are using online counseling as a replacement for office visits.
Online Psychological counseling is also filling the unmet need for clients located in areas traditionally under-served by traditional counselor. Rural residents and experts along with under-served minorities often have an easier time finding a suitable therapist online than in their local communities. It has also been shown to be effective for clients who may have difficulty reaching appointment during normal business hours. There is a split within the counseling field on the validity of online counseling. A wide or broader aspect for understanding purpose says that, Online Counseling is a kind of professional assistance provided to those requiring counseling for mental health distress through internet or in simple words counseling- online student support service. They are also known as counseling webinars. Research suggests that online therapy or counseling is almost as effective in helping adults deal with anxiety, depression and stress as face to face therapy is. Although face to face therapy can be better than talking to someone online. Online counseling or therapy can be a boon for some, it is for all those people who:
- Are hesitant about coming for therapy in person.
- Don’t know if they need it, but want to try it out.
- Are busy juggling responsibilities at work and home.
- Dread the prospect of wading through traffic.
- Are in different cities and would prefer to meet trained, licensed therapists online for psychological help.
- Prefer privacy and anonymity.
- Prefer flexibility in terms of time and setting.
- Are looking for cost-effective options.
- Need additional sessions apart from face to face therapy.
Advantages of Online Psychological counseling:
- A good option for remote areas: Online Counseling/Therapy offers access to mental health information to people in rural or remote areas. Those who live in such areas simply might not have access to any other form of mental health treatment because there are no mental health practices in their geographical areas. E-therapy/ E-counseling give these individuals access to treatment that they might not have otherwise.
- Anonymity: People seek the assistance of counselors and psychologists for myriad legitimate reasons, mostly so that they may live happier and more fulfilling lives, yet many people still associate seeing a “shrink” with severe mental illness only. Many people feel reluctant to visit a local counselor or psychologist out of fear of “what other people may think”. Fortunately online counseling offer apprehensive clients more complete anonymity, and so this can also decrease barriers to effective health services.
- Accessibility: Web counseling is easily accessible to all those who wish to use it. Online counseling/therapy overcomes barriers that may preclude other from seeking therapy/counseling. Those that are physically disabled or unable to leave their home can also easily access such services with little convenience. Those that have visual and hearing impairment can also benefits from such services. Web counseling has also shown to be effective in encouraging children and teenagers to receive therapy as they seem to be more comfortable with using the internet.
- Convenience and Affordability: Online counseling/therapy is usually fairly affordable and convenient. Since you will be attending therapy/counseling sessions for times that are the most convenient for you. Today, many states require insurance providers to cover online therapy just as they would traditional therapy sessions. Online therapists often offer affordable treatment options for those who are not covered by health insurance.
- Larger selection of therapists: By not limiting your immediate geographic area, you can choose from licensed therapists all cross your state or even internationally. Ability, to find a therapist that has particular issue or is knowledgeable about your background.
- Sharing Your Deep Dark Secrets Quickly: People who have an online counselor ultimately feel safe with their therapist. Think of a person who has endured sexual abuse or been involved in a domestic violence situation. You are able to reveal these secrets because you feel a strong sense of anonymity having a relationship with an online therapist. The advantages of using this modality of therapy are that the client is motivated to get to the heart of their matter quickly. This results in faster healing for the client and a more expedient form of therapy for the counselor.
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