* Please note I only work over the telephone or internet with clients living in the UK. I do not work with young people under the age of 16 over the telephone or internet*
Face to face counselling may be one of the more recognised forms of treatment, but there are many forms of therapy and many different types. Counselling is totally individual and what works for one person, may not work for you. Whether you have tried face to face counselling and it wasn’t what you were after, or there are other reasons as to why you’d like to try another way, know that there are options.
The idea of online counselling has been around for some time. Yet due to the rise of social media, online technology and the use of smartphones, we have seen a growing movement towards online counselling services in recent years.
With so many people online on a daily basis, either for leisure or work, online counselling is an ideal alternative to the many potential obstacles potential clients will face when seeking therapy. Ultimately, online counselling is a method which can be used to reach people who are unable to access support or would like to get the support they need in a more comfortable environment.
What can online counselling offer?
Online and telephone counselling offers individuals the same level of support and confidentiality as meeting face to face with a qualified counsellor or therapist. It can also offer the convenience of not having to travel.
Telephone counselling works in the same way as face to face counselling, but is conducted over the phone.
How does telephone counselling work?
The first step is simply for you to contact me for an initial discussion. If I feel that telephone counselling is going to be appropriate, we can book a session at a mutually convenient time.
During the initial conversation, I will take the opportunity to discuss what issues we will be working on and find out some background information about the client. I will also usually outline my confidentiality policy as well as general information, such as cancellation policy.
I offer online counselling via video using VSee or Skype or WhatsApp. Whatever mode of Internet communication is used, online counselling is an ideal way for many individuals to seek confidential and professional support.
Is online counselling effective?
While some experts believe the efficacy of online and telephone counselling is not as strong as face to face, there is mounting evidence to suggest that the outcome of these methods is at least equal to the effects of traditional counselling. Leading medical journal The Lancet, previously published a study validating claims that online cognitive behavioural therapy is just as effective in treating depression as traditional therapy. In addition, telephone counselling has also been recognised as an effective treatment for depression.
Numerous studies — including two 2013 studies published in the Journal of Affective Disorders and Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Networking — found online counselling to be as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy.
In certain instances, online therapy may be more effective. In the study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, for example, participants found their online therapists to be more “personal” than those who visited in-person therapists. Study participants were also more likely to continue to engage with and address what they worked on in therapy, periodically reviewing their written correspondence with their online counsellor.
“Our study is evidence that psychotherapeutic services on the internet are an effective supplement to therapeutic care,” said Professor Andreas Maercker, a study researcher. “In the medium term, online psychotherapy even yields better results.”
Who Should Try Online Counselling?
Online Counselling is an excellent option for anyone who wants helps dealing with mental health challenges — whether it’s anxiety or depression, relationship or job concerns, life transitions, or grief, loss, PTSD, or trauma. There is a perfect online counsellor for every person and every situation.
In particular, people who don’t have access to therapists for any reason benefit greatly from online counselling. Maybe you live in a rural area with few available therapists. Perhaps you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to meet in-person with a therapist. Many busy working people or full-time parents simply don’t have the time to fit a therapy appointment into their lives, and appreciate the fact that, with online counselling, messages can be sent e anywhere, anytime.
Some people who have never tried therapy before, often because they are afraid to share intimate details about their lives with a virtual stranger, find the protective distance of online therapy a consolation. Many people try therapy for the first time via online counselling!