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Finding Help and Healing Through Online Counseling

May 5, 2023

7 min read

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Author : United We Care
Clinically approved by : Dr.Vasudha
Finding Help and Healing Through Online Counseling

Introduction

While few psychologists used to offer therapy online before COVID-19, this practice has become common. This article explores how a person can find help and healing through online counseling.

What is online counseling?

Online counseling delivers therapy interventions using technology like videoconferencing, apps, phone calls, texts, and emails. It usually requires an internet connection and a prior discussion between the client and the counselor.

There are many other names for online counseling, such as telemental health, tele-psychotherapy, web counseling, remote therapy, e-therapy, mobile therapy, etc. Some people have different opinions about what online counseling means. However, Richards and Viganó in 2012 gave a simple definition. They say online counseling is when a trained counselor uses computers to talk to clients online. It can be the only way they talk, or other counseling methods can use it [2].

How can online counseling help you?

Online counseling has many benefits apart from the healing and help they offer. Studies have revealed that online counseling using video-based sessions is as effective as in-person sessions, mainly when anxiety or depression is targeted [3]. Further, other modalities like telephone counseling have also been effective [4]. Thus, online counseling will help individuals heal and deal with their issues effectively.

There are many other advantages of online counseling. These are below [5]:

 

 

  • Reduction in Costs:                                                                                                         Online counseling can be cheaper for the client, for the costs of traveling and disruption in routine are lower.
  • Convenient to schedule:                                                                                                         It may also be easy to prepare for individuals with busy routines and little time to devote to other endeavors.
  • Managing efficiently The stigma associated with counseling:                        There is still a stigma associated with counseling in many places. Many individuals avoid going to counselors because of the labels and questions that come with them. Here, online counseling has an advantage and can be more secretive.
  • More accessibility:                                                                                                          Online counseling is also more accessible from remote locations. Many individuals may be present in areas where counselors are available less. Still, others may wish to work with a counselor unavailable in their city. Online medium provides a solution to these problems.
  • Clients often feel more in control:                                                                           In their review of studies on online counseling, Simpson and Reid found that many clients reported feeling a higher sense of control, less intimidation, and less pressure when attending sessions online [5]. The distance in online sessions can provide the client a sense of safety, whereas sometimes offline sessions may threaten.

In sum, online counseling has many benefits, which range from convenience to easier accessibility and more control. Further, the effects of modalities like videoconferencing are similar to that of in-person therapy, while other forms have the potential to provide some degree of help to the client.

What to Expect from Online Counseling?

It can be daunting to begin psychotherapy in an online setup. However, one must remember that it is a convenient and highly accessible medium to get help for one’s problems.

 

When beginning with online counseling, one can expect, first and foremost, a safe and confidential space to talk about their feelings, concerns, and issues. Interventions based on the client’s needs, a discussion about goals, and the client discussing the boundaries of their working relationship with the counselor and set can also be expected. The counselor can also suggest some tasks, activities, or self-work to increase the effect of counseling.

 

The counselor will be present with the client depending upon the type of online counseling. Usually, in email or text-based counseling, the presence of a counselor is less, and the replies may take time. On the contrary, telephonic and video-based online counseling provides space for more company and connection, with video-based sessions being closest to in-person sessions.

Top tips for getting the most from online counseling?

Online counseling can be a person’s doorway to help and healing. There might be some doubt about the process and challenges unique to online counseling. The following tips can help you get the most out of the online counseling process:

 

 

  1. Research about the therapist:                                                                                      While this tip applies to all types of sessions, it is essential to choose the right therapist [6]. Different individuals have different expertise and ways of working, and thus, it is necessary to research them and ensure that their knowledge and your goals align.
  2. Schedule the session properly: It is essential to have a designated space and time where one can have privacy and minimal distractions. One best practice is to inform others that this hour will be blocked [6] [7].
  3. Perform Technological Checks and Keep Backups: Glitches can interfere with online counseling heavily dependent on internet facilities and technology. It can be helpful to run technology checks before a session and keep alternatives ready in case something comes up during the session [6] [7].
  4. Have a ritual post the session: In offline counseling, the individual gets some time alone after the session. This space can provide space to process, decompress, and calm themselves before returning to life. Hence, one can create a post-session ritual [7] [Example: walking alone after the session].
  5. Communicate your concerns and feedback to the therapist: If, at any point during sessions, a problem such as a doubt, a technological issue, or an input emerges, it is best to share it with the therapist.

Online counseling can be fruitful if we tackle these fundamental issues early on.

How to get started with online counseling at UWC?

It can be overwhelming to find experts and psychologists online. However, the United We Care platform offers a simple solution to this. The website of United We Care lists a range of qualified professionals with training and experience in counseling and mental health.

 

One can access this expertise by scrolling through the “Professionals” [8] page on the United We Care Website page. After filling in basic details about what type of help one requires, the website lists for the user several professionals who might be able to help the person. The user will need to select then the professional they wish to consult and book the session as per the availability.

Conclusion

Online counseling is a much more convenient and accessible method of receiving help from qualified professionals, and research shows that it can help individuals deal with their issues effectively. One can get the best out of online counseling by following simple procedures like scheduling properly, doing technological checks, and having a post-session ritual. The United We Care platform has a range of psychologists who offer online counseling for different concerns.

References

  1. K. MacMullin, P. Jerry, and K. Cook, “Psychotherapist experiences with telepsychotherapy: Pre covid-19 lessons for a post covid-19 world.” Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 248–264, 2020.
  2. D. Richards and N. Viganó, “Online counseling: A narrative and critical review of the literature,” Journal of Clinical Psychology, vol. 69, no. 9, pp. 994–1011, 2013. 
  3. E. Fernandez, Y. Woldgabreal, A. Day, T. Pham, B. Gleich, and E. Aboujaoude, “Live psychotherapy by video versus in‐person: A meta‐analysis of efficacy and its relationship to types and targets of treatment,” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 1535–1549, 2021.
  4. T. A. Badger, C. Segrin, J. T. Hepworth, A. Pasvogel, K. Weihs, and A. M. Lopez, “Telephone-delivered health education and interpersonal counseling improve quality of life for Latinas with breast cancer and their supportive partners,” Psycho-Oncology, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 1035–1042, 2012.
  5. S. G. Simpson and C. L. Reid, “Therapeutic alliance in videoconferencing psychotherapy: A Review,” Australian Journal of Rural Health, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 280–299, 2014.
  6. M. S. Nicole Arzt, “Getting the most from online therapy: Our top 8 insider tips,” Innerbody, 04-Jan-2022. [Online]. Available here:  [Accessed: 26-Apr-2023].
  7. “10 tips for online counseling and therapy,” Counselling Directory. [Online]. Available here:  [Accessed: 26-Apr-2023].
  8. “Find the right professional – united we care,” Find the Right Professional – United We Care. [Online]. Available here: . [Accessed: 26-Apr-2023].

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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