What if your therapist was just a click away? No more office appointments, no more sitting in traffic, and zero potential for that awkward encounter in the waiting room. Online counseling is an up and coming trend, which is easy to fit into a busy schedule. It allows people to stay in the comfort of their own homes or have their sessions on the go. Technology has given us the opportunity to have almost anything at our fingertips within seconds. The use of email, FaceTime, and Skype allow clients to continue their busy schedules without making many adjustments (http://www.nytimes.com).
Online counseling is beneficial when coming into the office is not an option due to clients being bedridden, sick, or geographically separated. Although it may not be as therapeutic compared to in person therapy for some clients. The personal interaction between the therapist and client alone is therapeutic (http://www.psychologytoday.com).
If online counseling is more intriguing to you than in person therapy there are many things to be aware of before choosing a therapist. It is important to make sure your therapist is a licensed professional in the same state that you live and checking their credentials is crucial when there is no face-to-face interaction. Confidentiality is always a topic that should be discussed before therapy begins. It is important to be aware of who may have access to your computer or email and how your therapist will be protecting your information. It is possible that the information shared during session may be hacked or one of you may have a poor Internet connection. This might be hard to handle during a crisis moment or right after sharing new information with your therapist (http://health.usenew.com).
As I think about the topic of online counseling the first thing that comes to my mind is not being able to see clients. Non-verbal communication is important to pay attention to if you want to truly understand what another individual is saying. How many times have you been able to see that a friend was upset just by their body language? How many different meanings does, “I’m fine” have by just changing the tone of your voice? How does your body language change when you start discussing something that makes you nervous or frustrated?
There are pros and cons to everything. I wonder how much we are giving up when we decide to make life more convenient by eliminating a face-to-face interaction with another person. What will the long-term effects be for our young children that are constantly entertained by some type of technology or screen?
~By Rachelle Kliewer