Why Would Anyone Need Online Counseling?

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Why would anyone need online counseling?  I asked myself the same thing in early 2016….

At that time, I had a coworker who was struggling with a long-distance relationship, and she came to me for advice about how to determine if they should continue onward toward an engagement or break up.  I suggested counseling for them, but they were unable to meet with a professional in a face-to-face setting due to the multi-state distance between them and the irregularity of their time together.  As a social worker, I am a problem solver by training, so I was certain that there must be a solution to this quandary.  After much research, I discovered the budding world of online and telemental health counseling.  However, I was doubtful and hesitant.  Is online counseling ethical?  Legal?  Research-based? Effective?

While online counseling would solve the issue of counseling for this couple who lived hours apart, how could I recommend it with certainty and confidence?  The only solution was to trial online counseling within my own practice.  I sampled online counseling via a secure and encrypted email platform with a few interested clients.  As busy professionals, they were intrigued by the idea of being able to send me emails whenever something was on their mind and then know that I would respond with feedback, suggestions, and strategies within 24 hours.  A steady rhythm of emails and exchanges began over the next few weeks.  As I checked in with these clients, they noted enthusiastically that online counseling was more convenient (ie. no need to make an appointment, wait weeks for their next session, or to give up 1.5-2 hours of their time to travel and sit through a traditional session) and they felt as if they were making the same amount if not more progress through the online platform.  

So not only was this experiment successful and I was able to recommend online counseling to my co-worker and her significant other, but an exciting and new practice was born for me out of this experience!

Do you have any questions about online counseling?  Do you wonder if it could be a good fit for your counseling needs?  If so, I would love to do a free consultation with you.  Feel free to reach out to me via my website.

Talk soon, Wendy