Do you think you might benefit from one-on-one counseling but lack the time or ability to commit to it? Online Counseling can be a time-sensitive and cost effective alternative to in-office treatment. Browse our database of top-rated online therapists to find an e-counselor today.
What Makes a Good Online Counselor?
Though you may never meet your online counselor in person, it is crucial to thoroughly assess each potential adviser as if you were to meet with him or her face-to-face. While there are some disreputable “counselors” available online that holds a fake license or degree, many are properly licensed and educated. When choosing an online counselor, it is important to look at the counselor’s credentials to see if they are certified with a graduate degree and/or a Master in Psychology.
For individuals who are more comfortable seeking help from a counselor with additional training, it is often times possible to find an online counselor with a Ph.D. The more training a counselor has, however, the more likely their fees will be higher than one with a lower level of training. Every individual seeking out help is different, therefore your final choices all comes down to the desired level of education in your counselor and the price you are comfortable paying.
Overall, it is most important that you are comfortable with your counselor. Though you will not be in the same room with your counselor, it is still important for you to be comfortable enough with them to be open and willing to divulge information about yourself. If you are not able to talk openly and honestly about why you are seeking counseling, it is more likely to be ineffective.
What is Online Counseling?
In layman’s terms, Online Counseling is counseling that takes place online. Rather than visiting a therapist’s office for a one-on-one session, patients can choose to have their sessions via email, phone or instant message chat. With all three, patients will generally be asked to fill out a short survey about why they are seeking counseling. If they have chosen to receive counseling through email, counseling will begin on a continuous back and forth basis. With counseling by phone or instant message, patients will generally schedule a specific appointment time with their counselor. On the day of the appointment, rather than going to an office, the patient either calls in or signs on to their instant messenger and receives their counseling session without leaving the comfort of their own home.
As the counselor is never in the same room as the patient, online counseling is not suggested for those who pose danger to themselves or others — individuals who are suicidal or whose sense of reality is severely damaged. However, for those who are otherwise functional, but are in need of some degree of help to get through a difficult time in their life (i.e. individuals suffering from minor depression, relationship problems, self-esteem issues, etc.), online counseling can offer necessary and beneficial support.
Although online counseling is not considered traditional psychotherapy, when conducted by a licensed professional, online counseling has been proven effective as an alternative form of counseling for individuals who are unable or unwilling to pursue traditional counseling.