Covid-19 has been stressful for everyone. Fear, stress, and anxiety are natural when it comes to facing a pandemic. This can also be quite overwhelming for people of all ages, including children. Not to mention the effect of social distancing that can enhance the feelings of loneliness and sadness. This can further worsen the feeling of anxiety and stress.
This is why one needs to develop effective stress-coping strategies, which leads us to the question about the effectiveness of online counselling in the face of Covid-19 and the following lockdowns worldwide.
Online counselling verses in-person counselling
Covid-19 has forced many people to stay at home. Given the current circumstances, online counselling is a far better option than visiting the therapist in person. That being said, you might have many questions regarding how online counselling might differ from traditional counselling sessions. Here are some essential differences to consider:
This is the fundamental difference between traditional and online therapy. The conventional method involves a visit to the therapist’s office where you and the counselor can communicate with each other face-to-face. A face-to-face conversation with the therapist can help them assess your body language and other non-verbal clues.
On the other hand, online counseling can be conducted over texts, emails, calls, video calls, whatever is convenient as per the client’s technological capabilities and the therapist. Video communication can provide the closest experience of having a face-to-face conversation with the counselor.
Accessibility and convenience
Online therapy is more convenient; especially, in the face of today’s circumstances. You will not need to drive to the therapist and see him in person. For each therapy session, you can log into their website or a mobile app, whatever platform is available from the comfort of your home. The therapist’s accessibility depends on their schedule. Some even provide a 24/7 helpline, which makes it easier to access according to one’s needs.
Some people are hesitant to have a one-to-one meeting with their therapist. They will find online therapy sessions more accessible and more comfortable. This can include the unavailability of proper transportation to get to the therapist’s office. Or, they might have a disability which prevents them from visiting their counsellor. Online sessions enable people to receive treatment for mental health.
Privacy and cost
Online counseling privacy rights are included in the HIPPA, which means that whatever you discuss with your online therapist is protected by law. Nonetheless, it is recommended to choose your online counsellor wisely as some online platforms might lack privacy. Make sure to research the company’s use of encryption to preserve and protect their client’s data.
If you opt for a video session, make sure that it is complying with the HIPAA platform. Refrain from using a common platform, such as Skype and FaceTime, for your online counselling sessions.
Generally, the costs for online and face-to-face sessions do not vary. They remain the same for both. You might ask your insurance company to see if they cover online therapy sessions. The fees will vary according to your selected subscriptions.
Before starting your online counselling sessions, make sure to check that the therapist is licensed. Verification is mandatory and should not be avoided at any cost. Many online therapy sessions are cheaper than face-to-face sessions.
Efficacy of online and traditional counselling sessions
Usually, the effectiveness of online therapy and traditional therapy is the same. According to studies, teletherapy can cure mental health issues as effective as one-to-one sessions. However, the success of a therapy session depends on individual circumstances as well. Sometimes, people suffer from intensive mental health issues that cannot be cured online. Still, online therapy has many benefits, especially when more than half of the globe is stuck in their home and feeling loneliness, depression, and anxiety. It is always better to talk to a therapist online than suffering alone with no one to talk to.
Given today’s severe circumstances, it would not be wrong to say that online counselling is definitely worth it. While your identity will remain protected, you are provided a secure platform to talk to a therapist. This is particularly useful if you are stuck at home and cannot manage a face-to-face session. Online sessions are also helpful when dealing with social anxiety and feel more comfortable reaching out to the therapist online.