What is Online Therapy?
Online counseling is simply communicating with
a qualified, professional counselor/therapist
by email or chat through your computer. If
you have a microphone, we can speak to each
through the computer and if you have a webcam,
I can see you as we speak. Services such as
MSN or Yahoo messenger allow for instant
and there are secure chat rooms available on
the internet as well.
Whether you choose only a few email exchanges
or on ongoing diaglogue with the therapist
over time, you have the opportunity to share
your concerns, pose questions, and gain further
insight into the problems you are addressing.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ONLINE COUNSELING
There are advantages and disadvantages to
online counseling as opposed to face-to-face
counseling. Anonymity appeals to a lot of people
because some may be more comfortable sharing
very personal information about themselves
such as victims of abuse and trauma or when
it comes to revealing experiences that involve
shame. Having all the time that is needed to
write emails may help some people clarify the
issues being addressed and help them focus
toward resolution. The convenience of online
counseling is a big draw for many as well.
People's lives are so hectic at times that
it may be impossible to schedule daytime appointments.
Distance or disabilities could prevent some
from being able to access the therapist of
their choice in person.
The most significant drawback of online counseling
is not being able to interpret body language,
facial expression, tone of voice, and so forth
- with the exception of microphone and webcam
use. The client, however, may add emotions
that they are experiencing in brackets as they
go along (ie: smiling now, feel like I am going
to start to cry now). Some problems cannot
be resolved online. For example, someone who
is suicidal should seek immediate in-person
assistance and someone suffering from a serious
mental health disorder or requiring medication
would need ongoing treatment with a face-to-face
therapist. Due to the technical nature of this
new form of therapy, complications regarding
complete confidentiality may arise and servers
may go down which would affect access and response
WORKING TOGETHER TO SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS
Completing the Life History Questionnaire
will provide the counselor with pertinent information
about your background and the nature of your
concerns/issues. There is no charge for this
The next step is to share your thoughts and
feelings about these concerns and ask any questions
you may have. I will help you to understand
your behaviour and reactions, to explore the
roots of these issues, and help you find ways
to overcome these difficulties. Sometimes,
people just need someone to care about the
pain they are feeling and I can offer caring
support to validate what you are experiencing.
Other times, people need some assistance in
understanding why they have low self-esteem
or why they repeat negative patterns of behaviour
in relationships, or why they can't break unhealthy
habits. I can offer suggestions to help you
with greater self-awareness and then on how
you can deal with the problem in a healthy
manner with positive outcomes.
E-MAILS VS. INSTANT MESSAGING
Instant messaging is in real time for those
who prefer the counselor's immediate response.
This is enhanced by the use of microphones
and/or webcams and saves typing. Emails, on
the other hand, are preferred by those who
would like to really think out what they want
to say, those who wish time to study the counselor's
response, and emails may be written whenever
convenient for you. Both venues can provide
record keeping of the discussions between you
and the counselor and both offer counseling
in the privacy and comfort of your own home.
Couples need not be excluded from online counseling.
Each person could email the therapist separately
or together as a couple. Another method is
for the couple and therapist to meet in a secure