Twenty two years into the new millennium, and we still don’t have flying cars or whole meals presented in pill-form. However, we do have robots that sweep our floor and bluetooth speakers in our shower. With all of the advances, we are all relying on technology more today than ever before. This advancement has expanded into the medical field, including mental health! These mental health services may be referred to as “telehealth,” “online counseling,” and “telemedicine”. In this blog, we hope to explain the benefits of online counseling.
What is Online Counseling/Telehealth?
The phrase “telehealth” often is used to reference a wide range of health services that might not include direct clinical treatment. The American Psychiatric Association says “telehealth” can refer to anything from a “patient portal” to sending information to a practitioner’s office. “Online counseling” is used to describe the use of technology, such as a phone or video conference, in order to provide or receive mental health counseling services.
It may surprise you to know that online counseling has been around in some areas for over twenty years! The American Psychological Association says online counseling began as a way to provide mental health support to active duty military personnel and to those who live in rural areas where in-person counseling services may not be easily accessible.
Benefits of Online Counseling
Online counseling offers many benefits. A few of these include:
- Meets A Huge Need: As we mentioned earlier, mental health services can be hard for some communities or populations to access. Online counseling is an invaluable resource for these individuals.
- Affordability (In Some Cases): Many people struggle with the ability to pay for counseling services, even those who have insurance. With the increase in online counseling usage since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in online counseling options, including options at different price ranges. At Garrett Counseling, we accept most insurance, assist our clients with a sliding scale option, and take private pay at a lower price than some practices.
- Comfort: How many people do you know who just love to talk on the phone? With the growing options for communication, from FaceTime to Text, more people are reporting feeling uncomfortable communicating on their phone, much less communicating in person. We know that discussing personal subjects with a counselor can be difficult. For clients who need time to adjust to the transition of in-person, face-to-face communication, online counseling can be a wonderful lifeline.
- Minimal Work Interference: As long as you have a WiFi connection and a safe, private space, you can participate in online counseling from wherever you are. For this reason, you may not need to take time away from work or school to participate in counseling.
Does Online Counseling Really Work?
You may be thinking, “All of this sounds really good… But does it actually work?” In her online article, Online Therapy is Here to Stay, Hannah Calkins states that professionals who conducted a two decade long study, have confirmed that patients generally view online counseling services favorably. Further, Calkins references different clinical studies that focussed on searching for any evidence that there is a qualitative difference between in-person and online counseling services. The evidence Calkin’s described discovered that both types of treatment ended with similar (favorable) results!
Garrett Counseling’s Suzy Mitchell, LPC says,
“I have been providing telehealth exclusively for over a year and the experience has been overall very positive. One of the main benefits is that it allows clients to receive counseling services from their home or other private place, which can be more time efficient than going to an outpatient office. Some clients find that participating in counseling online is less threatening or intimidating if they have not experienced counseling before. People in remote areas can participate in online counseling without spending extra time and money getting to the appointment. There seems to be more flexibility when scheduling appointments with clients because they only have to plan an hour out of their busy schedule. Many of my clients have expressed that online therapy has allowed them to fit counseling into a hectic schedule.”
At Garrett Counseling, we care about our communities and we provide online counseling services as a way to better serve them. If you are searching for online counseling, please don’t wait – contact us to get started today!
*This article was written by Suzy Mitchell, a licensed professional counselor at Garrett Counseling. Learn more about Suzy here.