Web 2.0 has brought us many social and technological advancements. Connectivity has advanced to the point where humans can communicate instantly, in real time, from every corner of the globe. Anything that impacts communication to this extent is going to have an impact on counseling and therapy as well. So it should come as no surprise that there are numerous new opportunities for online mental health support in 2018.
E-counseling goes by many different names. Teletherapy, online therapy, e-therapy, cyber counseling, etc. are just a few of the different names it goes by. There are also many different styles of online therapy, and different tools and methods. What they all have in common, of course, is that they implement therapeutic mental health support via online or telephone resources.
E-counseling has been shown to be very effective in many cases, according to the APA and E-counseling.com. Of course, as with traditional therapy, the effectiveness of the treatment has much to do with the individual patient, therapist, mental health issues, and therapy style. For example, an eating disorder patient may need to do cognitive behavioral therapy online, while an unmotivated student may need something closer to an online life coach. Both of these are very valid choices, as long as the patients are getting the support and help that they need.
Some therapy may take place in real-time. This is accomplished through text chatting, therapy apps, video calls, and traditional phone calls. There are also ways that patients can communicate with their counselors with more delayed responses, such as email and in-app messaging. Many patients enjoy this because it gives them the opportunity to take their time and fully explain the issues and challenges they’re experiencing. They can also save their sessions to go back and consider the progress they’ve made, and the advice they’ve received.
E-counseling is also a wonderful modern option for people who don’t have the time, inclination, or resources to go to a brick and mortar therapist’s office. This might be because they can’t find a therapist they like in their geographic area, their schedule isn’t forgiving enough for a regular appointment schedule, or their anxiety is simply getting the best of them and keeping them from taking that next step. E-counseling can provide a wonderful source of support for people in these situations.
Of course, no type of therapy is right for everyone. But there are many different types of online therapists with many different methods and therapeutic styles, so there is likely to be a good match for most patients out there. Many services offer a subscription model, which allows clients to pick and choose from multiple therapists, or change therapists if they feel that their current counselor isn’t a good fit. With online therapy, the sky’s the limit. It’s also much more affordable than some other support options, which can be a deciding factor for many people. All in all, e-counseling is an effective way of extending powerful mental health support to an ever-broader range of clients.