What is Online Counselling Therapy?
What is Online Counselling Therapy?
Online therapy, also known as e-therapy, e-counseling, teletherapy, or cyber-counseling, involves providing mental health services and support over the internet. This can occur through email, text messaging, video conferencing, online chat, messaging, or internet phone. For us, at Connectable Life, it takes place through our built-in webcam on our wellness platform. Our video calling facility is completely safe and secure and nothing can be recorded for the obvious reason of confidentiality. Our website is SSL secure which serves to keep sensitive information sent across the internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient can access it. When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending the information to.
Is online counselling legit?
Online counselling is making healthcare accessible to anyone and everyone. For us, this already makes it legit. Help is reaching people, no matter where they are. If the therapy process is led by a qualified and trained professional, there is no reason why online counselling should be any different to that of face-to-face therapy. This does not mean that it is everyone’s cup-of-tea, but, when you look at the added benefits of online counselling, it is certainly worth a try. At the end of the day, counselling is about relationships and connection- something that can be just as easily maintained online in today’s world.
Is online Counselling effective?
First and foremost, the goal behind online counselling  is to make healthcare accessible to anyone and everyone. For us, this already makes it effective.
But, before we can say that online counselling is effective, let us take a look at what makes up ‘effective counselling’.
According to PsychCentral ,
“Effective counseling is a two way street. It takes a cooperative effort by both the person receiving counseling and the counsellor,” and “It’s important that you and your counselor establish a good relationship that allows you to be completely honest about your thoughts and feelings. Often, this requires an elusive “chemistry” between both of you in which you feel comfortable with your counselor’s personality, approach and style.”
At a time when the world has been forced to stay apart and essentially ‘disconnect’, there is no denying the power that the internet and online platforms have had in allowing humans to remain connected. Meetings, birthdays, social gatherings, business ideas, baby showers, you name it: they have enabled these every day and momentous occasions, even if virtually. The moment is shared; the joy is felt! Now, we are not for one second saying that I think all of this should remain this way and that the way forward should be to do EVERYTHING virtually. The point, going back to the quote from PsychCentral, is that there is no reason why a good relationship between counsellor and counselled cannot be formed via a video consult: and therefore, there is no reason why online counselling cannot be deemed effective.
It’s your personal journey.
We understand that therapy of any kind is a personal journey and that you need to ‘click’ with your counsellor or therapist for the experience to work. This is why we ask our specialists to upload their photo, a bio about themselves as well as a short video clip. We feel that this will allow the client to browse through and find someone that is best suited to them and what they need. This should, in essence, already make the process more successful as they have made an informed decision and have a sense of who it is they are going to be journeying with. You will have a feel for their personality, approach, and style.
What makes a good relationship is mutual respect, good communication, openness, and trust- these are all values that can equally be shown via video.
Further to this, we believe that because people will be in their own space, they will feel safer to be raw, real, and honest. In doing so, this will create a good environment for counselling, and effective counselling. We often hear people say that someone had the confidence to say something when they ‘hiding behind their screen’. We obviously do not think that this is always a positive thing, especially when hate speech is concerned, but it can definitely help in a counselling scenario when people have to speak about the unspeakable.
When we started discussing the need for more accessible healthcare, we looked at the reasons behind people not receiving the help they need. We looked at time, availability, cost and stigma .
People do not have the time to go to therapy or see a practitioner for varying reasons- we believe an online portal will make this easier as people can receive therapy at a time and place that best suits them- before or after work, or even during a work break. There will be no time needed for travelling, finding parking, waiting rooms etc.
According to Internet World Stats, there are 4,833,521,806 internet users. We are living in a society that is built on instant gratification and convenience; the internet offers both. The internet is everywhere! Health specialists, unfortunately, are not. People often live in areas that do not offer these services at all. Or there are simply not enough specialists to service the number of casualties. An online platform eliminates this issue, offering a remote service that is accessible to anyone, anywhere. It also allows people in cities where specialists may be more expensive to reach out to someone living in a smaller town where their rates are generally less.
The field of online therapy has been growing for a number of years and continues to prove to be as effective as face-to-face therapy but it is also proving to be more affordable in most cases. Much like face-to-face or traditional therapy, the cost of online counselling varies from specialist to specialist. Connectable Life has therapy that starts at $8 (+- R120). You can select a price bracket and choose a specialist within your price range and affordability. Online therapy can be generally cheaper than in-person therapy due to a wider range of specialist choice (and therefore wider range of cost choice) as well as the money saved on travel expenses, time off work and not to mention the TIME saved. Since it’s all done online, flexibility, accessibility and ease are added benefits.
If you are seeking an affordable option, and your insurance or medical aid won’t cover in-person therapy, you can’t beat online therapy. If you don’t have medical aid, it may also mean you have to get on a waitlist in a government facility and possibly see someone designated and not chosen by you. Online therapy is an affordable option for those living in remote areas and expensive cities.
Confidentiality is key! One of the major reasons people do not seek help is due to the stigma that surrounds it. We hope that by creating an online portal, where people can seek help from the safety of their own home or preferred space, this will encourage people by assisting them to feel less weary, scared or judged. This is especially true in a small town where everyone knows everyone and what they are up to.
By solving these problems, and people receiving the care they need, online counselling has already proven its effectiveness and worth.
Very often people also deem counselling ineffective if they have seen someone for multiple sessions and their situation hasn’t changed. The importance is for people to recognize that counselling is only one piece of the puzzle. For us to receive help and create change, we should be considering all aspects of our selves and minds: Mind, Body and Wellness. This is why we have made all these therapies available and accessible in one place, so that people can use them and make the therapy process truly effective.
Having said all of this, we know that online therapy and online counselling isn’t and won’t be for everyone. Just because someone may have a preference does not make the alternative ineffective. What we care about at the end of the day is people receiving the help they need, however that may be. What isn’t an option, is people not having an option- and that’s what we are trying to solve.
Can online therapists diagnose you?
An online therapist needs to be trained and qualified and must work and practice within the confines and limitations of their qualification and license. It is up to the professional to act accordingly and to follow the rules and guidelines of their board and/or affiliations.
How often should you see a therapist?
Therapy has been found to be most successful and beneficial when a client has approximately 12-16 sessions, in once weekly sessions for 45 minutes each. But the need may range anywhere from 3 sessions to lifetime therapy. Research does show that going for one session will never give you the healing and long-term happiness you are looking for; do yourself (and your loved ones) a favour and stick to AT LEAST three sessions before deciding that it is not for you and your money is better spent elsewhere. Therapy is a cumulative process, and we can’t predict when growth will come. Prioritize your long-term health and happiness over short-term perceived joy. Make (your) mental health a priority. Therapy is an investment… in you, your life, your family, your happiness, your health, your future.