Thinking about trying online counselling but not sure if it’s for you? Doubtful whether it’ll feel the same as ‘real life’ counselling, or worried that it all sounds too complicated?
I provide online or telephone counselling as an alternative to face-to-face sessions when clients can’t physically get to see me in person. Here are some answers to the most common questions I get asked about online therapy services.
What is online counselling?
Online counselling can mean counselling via email or text messages, or using a video conferencing platform such as Skype or Zoom.
I personally offer video therapy rather than email messaging, as I feel that video is the closest alternative to ‘face-to-face’ counselling.
Is online therapy effective?
It may seem surprising, but during an online counselling session it’s very easy to forget that you’re not both in the same room. Studies such as the ones below (see highlighted links) have shown that online therapy is as effective as traditional therapy, and I’d say that this reflects my own experience.
What if I don’t have any privacy at home?
It’s important to consider whether you’ll be able to speak to your therapist without the worry of being overheard. For some people their home situation doesn’t lend itself well to having a private conversation.
In these situations you might decide to get creative and think of some alternative ways to hold your online counselling session. Some sit in their car, others ‘walk and talk’ – I’ve even had some clients who held their session from the luxury top-secret location of their personal ‘man cave’ (also known as the garden shed!).
How does it all work?
Sometimes people are a bit daunted by the prospect of using technology for their therapy sessions, but I promise you, it’s really easy. I use a platform called ‘Zoom’, which is secure, and very simple to use.
All you need is a computer/phone/tablet with a webcam and microphone, and a fast reliable internet connection.
CLICK HERE to watch a video which takes you through the basics of joining a Zoom meeting.
What are the advantages of online counselling?
There are many benefits to having your therapy session online. Here are just a few:
You don’t have to physically get to your therapist’s office, which means you avoid traffic delays, public transport issues, or the hassle of finding your way there. This saves a lot of time and energy.
If you have mobility issues and it’s difficult for you to get out and about then online counselling can be the solution you’re looking for.
For some people it can be a real bonus to meet online with a therapist who lives in a totally different area to them.
This means the likelihood of any awkward encounters (eg, bumping into them at the local supermarket and wondering how to explain who they are!) will be minimised.
Speaking to your therapist from the comfort and familiarity of your own home can enable you to relax more fully, which is always a bonus, especially if you’re already feeling anxious.
The current coronavirus situation is transforming the way we view ‘virtual’ life. All across the world people are embracing alternative ways to connect with others, both for work and personal reasons. The technology is getting easier and more accessible all the time, with so many options (Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp etc) depending on your personal preference.
Online or telephone counselling offers a great alternative so that you don’t have to miss your sessions during this current crisis.
Is Online therapy suitable for everyone?
There are some situations in which online counselling is not ideal.
For instance if you don’t have a convenient place where you can speak privately, then you might feel uncomfortable about having your therapy session online.
If you have others at home who are dependent on you to care for them (eg children, pets, or elderly relatives), then that may be a distraction which would stop you from getting the most out of your therapy session.
I see clients who are going through many issues, such as anxiety, anger, or depression. But if you’re experiencing profound mental health issues or you have suicidal thoughts, then I would recommend seeing a therapist in person; somebody in your local area who can liase with your GP if necessary.
Got more questions? Want to book in? Just get in touch by completing the form below.
Lisa Murphy is a counsellor and hypnotherapist based in Glasgow who specialises in anxiety, anger management, and weight loss.