Therapy can often be stigmatized, and it can be difficult for many people to seek a therapist for their problems. This dilemma is particularly true if you take into account the accessibility of these services. There might not be a good therapist within your locality. Or if there is, you can’t seem to find the time to visit them.
Thankfully, technology nowadays has made communicating a lot more convenient. You can access a whole host of services online, and mental health services are no exception. With telecounseling, you can attend your therapy sessions right in the comfort of your home. It eases many people into taking the first step towards their healing.
What is Telecounseling?
Telecounseling is a mode of therapy that is delivered through technology. It makes it easier for many to communicate their concerns to a mental health professional. Telecounseling sessions may use devices such as:
Your therapist may use a digital platform to hold online one-on-one video conferences with you. In addition, they can ask you to download applications on your devices to perform valuations and exercises. They also provide you with utmost confidentiality and trust so that you can confide in them easily.
Who Is It For?
Telecounseling offers a wide range of services for those who need it. Therapists can provide speech therapy, mental health therapy, and occupational therapy. It provides better access, thereby bringing public health closer to the people. With the threat of the COVID-19 virus, it is a much safer option. You can stay at home and reach your therapist by phone.
Therapists may recommend telecounseling for you if it’s your first time. Being in a new environment can perhaps be stressful for some. Telecounseling can thus make it easier for people to open up as they are in the comforts of their own homes.
For those living in rural areas, telecounseling is also a great solution. Furthermore, this mode of therapy can help those with disabilities access mental health services. It reduces the cost and hassle of transportation. For those with multiple jobs, telecounseling offers a lot of flexibility as well.
How Telecounseling Works
Since the pandemic hit, many face-to-face services have transitioned to a digital platform. Classes, appointments, and even banking have all gone online. Nearly all our daily errands have a digital counterpart that makes them accessible for everyone. The same is true for public health services.
Telecounseling is very similar to a face-to-face appointment, as most therapy sessions do not require physical contact. Your therapist will talk to you about the issues that you struggle with and discuss possible treatment plans.
Your telecounseling sessions can be a meeting with your therapist through a call or video at an agreed time. Through this call, you can interact one-on-one with your therapist just like you would at an in-person appointment.
It can also be an asynchronous session where you are free to interact with resources and materials provided to you by your therapist to fulfill your treatment plans. Your therapist may suggest some guided meditation videos or even a weekly assessment for you to accomplish.
If this is your first appointment with a therapist, prepare questions or list your concerns. Remember, it’s okay to feel nervous. Just don’t let this stop you from being candid.
Benefits Of Telecounseling
Telecounseling can save you a lot of time and energy. The hours you spend in a commute can be allotted to help you prepare for your sessions. Thus, you can be more ready to share your thoughts and emotions. Online counseling can also reduce any delay in your care and reduces the stigma of going to therapy.
A big benefit to telecounseling is that you can message your therapist anytime about what you feel and what you’re going through. Previous in-person appointments don’t offer the same convenience. You usually have to wait until your next session to let your therapist know what you’re going through. So, it’s easy to forget what you meant to share if you don’t write them down.
Most importantly, telecounseling doesn’t have any drawbacks when it comes to the quality of outcomes. Research suggests that telecounseling is just as effective as regular counseling. In many aspects, it’s just like an in-person therapy session. So, it’s best if you treat it as such. Prepare and plan for your appointment, make a schedule with your therapist, and be punctual.
Some Barries To Telecounseling
Telecounseling may not benefit everyone. What may work for someone else may not work for you, and that’s perfectly fine. Your therapy should be tailor-fit to your needs. Here are some hurdles that could make telecounseling challenging for you.
Little To No Privacy In Your Home
Many people may struggle to find privacy even in their own homes. Not every patient can afford to live independently, and some are too young to move out on their own. We all come from different households, and the distractions we encounter vary.
Internet Connections And Technical Difficulties
You will need a reliable internet connection to communicate with your therapist effectively. Unfortunately, being connected online can be difficult for many, especially clients coming from low-income neighborhoods.
Data Encryption And Privacy Issues
Most people are very concerned with their privacy, thus making them wary about sharing private information through insecure web applications. But keep in mind that therapists are obliged to treat these sessions with the utmost confidentiality.
Communities At Risk
The digital divide has just further widened, with vulnerable sectors lacking online access. Studies show that online learning is difficult for the country’s most vulnerable students. A disproportionate amount of these children come from marginalized communities. This situation is unfortunate since technology is supposed to make everything more accessible. If education can’t be made available to students, it’s even harder to reach them with telecounseling.
Now, more than ever, we need access to prompt and professional mental health care. Teleconsulting is a step in the right direction. It provides access to people from different localities and abilities. As more and more people avail of this service, mental health counseling will become more destigmatized.
This new mode of therapy may not be a good fit for everyone. After all, there are still some barriers that hinder people from availing of this service. Just try a few sessions to see if it suits your preferences and circumstances. Hopefully, this article has helped shed a little light on telecounseling and nudged you towards getting the help you need.