Is Online Counselling Right for You?

by Andrea M. Darcy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Want to try counselling, but suspect it isn't a fit for your lifestyle? Think again. Therapy by Skype, Facetime, or other video conference platform might be an ideal solution.

The following questions can help you decide if online counselling is right for you.

What is the issue you’d like to work on?

Social anxiety and major depression make getting yourself together and leaving the house a challenge. With online therapy, you don't have to leave your living room, and can show up as you are.

Another issue online counselling has proven very useful for is obsessive compulsive disorder. Online therapy allows you to show your therapist 'first hand' how you are affected by OCD in your daily life at home, over just explaining things in in his or her office.

Does your job involve constant travel? Or planning a move?

These are good reasons to choose online counselling. Travelling or moving cities won’t disrupt the continuity of your therapy, or mean you have to start a relationship with an all-new therapist and explain everything all over again.

Do you have kids at home, or are you a caregiver?

As long as your children are old enough to play in the next room, or the person you care for is fine having a nap or being alone for an hour, you can do online counselling sessions from home.

Can you get enough privacy at home to do a session?

Of course you do need privacy and quiet to do your online counselling sessions. If you feel that your partner who works from home or inlaw you take care of will listen in, or your kids will cry throughout, you won't be able to relax enough to have a good session.

Do you have a disability, injury, or often suffer colds and flu?

If mobility is a challenge for you, online counselling can mean you don’t have to arrange for friends to help you get to therapy, or pay for an expensive cab ride. And if you have immune system issues and have avoided therapy due to worry you'd have to cancel too often, Skype therapy works even if you are worn out on your couch.

Do you need to save ever penny you can?

Online counselling can sometimes be offered for cheaper than in-person therapy.

And even if your therapist of choice charges the same for in-person or Skype sessions? You avoid the transport costs to and fro the therapist’s office, and you save the time that would involve.

If, for example, you are a freelancer, that could mean an hour or two more working, which can even cover your therapy costs entirely.

If you do have youngkids or are a caregiver, you also save on the cost of finding someone else to take care of your charges while you make a trip to therapy.

Are you very oversensitive?

Those who are sensitive to every gesture and nuance of communication can find online therapy leaves them cold. Without the ability to read the therapist's full body language and see all his or her gestures, you might be left feeling paranoid, or worried you aren't liked. In such cases it's better to go to see your therapist in person.

Are you interested in trying cognitive behavioural therapy?

Cognitive behavioural therapy, or 'CBT', has been shown by research to work very well over the internet. In fact a Canadian research study found that some participants had better results doing CBT online than in person.

Are you technologically savvy?

Of course you do need to be able to handle any issues that can arise with Skype and Facetime, or with your microphone and headphones. If you find technology overwhelming or hate using a computer, then online counselling might not be right for you.

Can’t I do both?

Actually, yes, you often can! Many therapists nowadays offer what is called ‘blended therapy’. This means that some sessions are in person, some are online. If you find a therapist you like, it's always worth asking if they will consider this way of working.

Ready to try online counselling and finally move your life forward? Find a therapist now and get talking.

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