This is a very normal question to have and one I also had as a therapist. I want to share how online counseling is effective and helpful in helping clients just like you achieve desired therapy goals.
Effectiveness of online counseling
Numerous studies have found that the effectiveness of online counseling can be the same or even greater than in-person therapy e.g., (Barak, Hen, Boniel-Nissim & Shapira, 2008; Kraus, 2010; Yuen, Goetter, Herbert & Forman, 2012). The reason for why this is true can be attributed to clients feeling more comfortable in their own setting and clients are likely to have a higher attendance to online counseling, which in turn can lead to positive outcomes in their treatment goals.
Adequate training for online counseling
Did you know that in order to provide online counseling, your clinician has to meet state board regulations? This of course may seem like an obvious when it comes to being trained to conduct therapy in general, but there is specific training that us clinicians must do to provide telehealth services. This is so that we can make sure that we are looking out for your well-being and ensure that this is the best option. There are times that we will have to make a referral, either because in-person treatment may be a better option, or perhaps we feel that you will be better served by a different clinician.
Does online counseling work for individual counseling?
Online counseling absolutely works for individual counseling. Our treatment goals and treatment plans do not change once we are doing counseling online.
Does online counseling also work for couples counseling?
In my personal experience, I have been able to effectively work with couples to reach their treatment goals through online counseling. Couples that I have seen have been able to maintain their attendance even with the busy schedules of work.
How this works, is that partners can be in two different locations. This is not ideal, but it is possible for couples who are constantly on the go and is a great option for couples who have not been able to make time to take care of their relationships, due to their busy schedules. A question that I often ask couples in counseling is “why have you decided to start therapy now?” A common answer is that they finally have time to put into their relationship. I have also heard that because of online couples counseling being an option, they no longer have to wait to do couples/marriage counseling. Here at Modern Wellness Counseling, we understand that not every relationship and situation is ideal for the traditional sit-down therapy, and that should not stop you from getting help that you want.
Is it for everyone?
Due to the safety and well-being of clients, online counseling is not for people who may be experiencing a crisis, experiencing suicidal intent or ideation, or experiencing psychosis. Online counseling may also not be for those who do not have a safe space at home to comfortably talk (i.e., those in an abusive relationship). In these types of situations, in-person counseling is often best so that your clinician can get you to an appropriate resource and so that you feel safe during your therapy session. This is something that is assessed during the intake process and during every online counseling session.
Barak, A., Hen, L., Boniel-Nissim, M. & Shapira, N. (2008). A comprehensive review and a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of Internet-based psychotherapeutic interventions. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26, 109 –160.
Kraus, R. (2010). Ethical issues in online counseling. In R. Kraus, G. Stricker & C. Speyer (Eds.), (2011). Online counseling: A handbook for mental health professionals (2nd ed., pp. 85–106). St. Louis, MO: Academic Press.
Yuen, E. K., Goetter, E. M., Herbert, J. D. & Forman, E. M. (2012). Challenges and opportunities in Internet-mediated telemental health. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 1– 8.
By Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT
Priscilla is the owner of an online therapy group practice and provides effective couples and individual counseling by utilizing research based therapeutic techniques to help clients reach their treatment goals. Priscilla and clinicians at Modern Wellness Counseling provide online counseling services to clients living in Texas cities such as Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and more rural towns like Kerrville, Lubbock, Uvalde, to name a few.