This new wave of psychological help – online counselling – has taken over the world in the last few years. And even though it is getting a tremendous response from clients and therapists all over the world, a lot of people are still sceptical about it, and naturally so. We at The Emotional Wellness Initiatives thought it’s only fair that we clarify the concept for you!
What is online counselling?
Online counselling is referred to by many other names too – e-therapy, tele mental health, online therapy, tele-counselling etc. It refers to any kind of counselling services provided over the Internet or telephonically. These services can be rendered through email, live chat, voice calls or video conferencing.
Does online counselling really work?
If the services are provided by genuine, qualified and trained professionals, then research has proven that online counselling is as effective as, even more effective sometimes, than face-to-face counselling . Online counselling has a lot of benefits.
One doesn’t have to physically commute to a therapist’s clinic in traffic and avoid unnecessary expenses and stress.
Online counselling provides complete privacy and nobody has to know that one is talking to a therapist because one doesn’t have to take any leave from office or take time off to visit a clinic.
Also, because the services are provided online, usually, the client has the privilege of contacting the therapist at the time of crisis and getting immediate help.
Due to all these factors, research has shown that people engaging in online counselling have fewer drop-out rates than face-to-face counselling.
What is the process for engaging in an online counselling session?
The session booking process at The Emotional Wellness Initiatives is very simple!
Click on the Book an Appointment button wherever you see it
Browse through the therapist profiles to find one who is the best fit for you needs
Click on Book a Session button under their profile
Choose your preferred mode of communication – Live Chat, Phone Call, or Video Call
Make the payment easily just like you do for online shopping
Voila! Your appointment is booked!
The therapist of your choice will email you within 24 hours with an appointment slot that’s convenient for both of you and your journey towards a happier life can begin!
Is online counselling for me?
First, let us take a look at the areas where psychological counselling can help:
Exam stress in children
Impact and control of the social media on children and teens
Emotional and adjustment problems in marriage
Sexual and adjustment counselling before marriage (pre-marital counseling)
Sexual dissatisfaction and fears between partners
Telling children about sex and other related questions
Dealing with past trauma and repressed emotions
Depression, anxiety and fears
Re-adjustment to life after pregnancy and delivery
Psychological counseling after retirement from job
And many many more…Are you surprised? It is very important that we begin to adopt psychological counselling as a part of our lives and a natural process for a healthy and happy living. And to make good psychological counselling easily accessible, now you have the option of online counselling. You may benefit from online psychological counselling if:
You have very busy working hours and it’s difficult for you to find time to actually visit a clinic
You’re a homemaker/housewife and don’t get time because of your children and other family responsibilities
You live in a place where there are no good counselors/psychologists available
You feel shy about approaching a psychologist/counselor to talk about your problem
You want to get a feel of the counseling process so that it can give you the confidence to move on to face-to-face counseling.
You are a minor or a teen and don’t want to tell your parents that you have a problem and you want to go to a counselor
Are you in any of these situations? Then tap that keyboard and click that mouse because we are waiting to share your problem with you and show you the right way to handle it through free psychological online counselling!
What should I expect in the first session?
First sessions are always all about YOU. They focus on the therapist getting to know you and to understand everything you’re going through in depth. So all you need to do is let it all out freely! The therapist may ask you some questions while you tell your story to get more clarity. Towards the end of the session, the therapist will outline everything, prioritise the issues that need to be dealt with and suggest a tentative action plan in collaboration with you.
Where can one find online counselling?
All you need to do is type “online counselling” in the Google search bar and you’ll be shown the results of all the top websites providing these services. There are quite a few so you have the option of ‘window-shopping’ and choosing the one that suits your needs perfectly.
How do I know I’m choosing the right website?
Psychotherapy and counselling are very delicate services and cater to people who are already in distress. So it is extremely important that you make your choice wisely. Fortunately, you have the power of the Internet in your hands. When you come across a mental health professional that you want to seek help from, make sure you thoroughly research their qualifications, license numbers, experience, expertise in the area that you need help in and if possible (and available) feedback from their previous clients. For example, if it is a Clinical Psychologist you are looking for, the minimum qualification they should have to ensure that they have been properly trained and licensed is an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology and an Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) license. Read more about the different kinds of mental health professionals and what they can do here.
You must also be clear about whether you want a space to just vent out your feelings and have someone hear you out or if you want proper treatment and psychotherapy to bring about permanent changes and learn long-term coping skills. There are websites that provide both kinds of services.
For what problems should I opt for online counselling?
Online counselling works best for relationship problems, recovery from grief and loss, mild anxiety disorders, mild depression, anger management, parenting issues, personal growth and personality improvement and lifestyle changes associated with lifestyle/chronic illnesses like diabetes etc. Online counselling can also work as an adjunct to someone already on medication for certain psychological conditions like anxiety and depression and if they are looking for more long-lasting coping solutions to the roots of their problems, along with medication.
Online counselling, however, is not suitable for severe psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, delusional disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, personality disorders like borderline or antisocial personality, self-harm, moderate to severe obsessive compulsive disorder and suicidal tendencies.
I’m feeling suicidal and it’s the middle of the night. Online counselling seems like the best option. Can I go for it?
If you’re feeling suicidal, it is recommended that you approach a known suicide helpline because those people are especially trained to handle emergencies. Going for an online counselling option may or may not be helpful and you don’t want to take that chance.
Do I have to pay for online counselling?
If you’re looking for truly professional help provided by qualified and genuine therapists then yes, it is recommended that you opt for a paid service. Just like you would prefer to go to a doctor having a proper clinic rather than to a charlatan sitting in a tent on the roadside selling home remedies, even though the latter is much cheaper; in the same way, you should take psychological and emotional issues seriously and get the best quality help possible. The ‘free’ option is only suitable if you’re looking to vent out your feelings. Somebody providing you free psychological help will definitely not give you long term and genuine relief.
I’m just a student. How can I pay for online counselling?
First of all if you’re a minor, i.e. you’re below 18 years of age, you should seek professional help like this with the consent of your parents. We understand that sometimes it’s difficult to explain to parents what you’re going through and they may not understand why you want to seek help from a mental health professional but this is a safeguard any ethical professional insists on to ensure accountability and your best interests. If you’re being abused in any way – physically or sexually – call the child abuse helpline on the number 1098 and report it. If you’re not a minor then it is easy to pay for a counselling session even if you’re a student. Usually an online counselling session costs as much as a pizza outing with your friends and that price is definitely worth your peace of mind, isn’t it?
Well, there you go! We hope this has been able to clear most of your doubts when it comes to online counselling. We wish you a happy life ahead!