One of our goals at Sam Nabil Counseling Services is to meet the therapy needs of a variety of people and lifestyles. Because of this, we offer both online and face-to-face therapy services and allow you to choose which modality best fits your needs.
But, perhaps, you are unsure which of these services would be a better fit. Perhaps you are intrigued by the thought of online therapy, but also have some concerns. Although online therapy has become more common in recent years, it still presents some unknowns that you might be wondering about.
In this article, my goal is to address the most common concern regarding online counseling and then detail the specific situations and struggles that are an ideal fit for receiving online services.
Answering A Common Concern
When it comes to online therapy, many peoples’ biggest concern is whether or not it is effective.
Will it help you?
The answer to this question has a lot to do with your particular struggle and reason for seeking therapy. Online therapy is not right for everyone. In particular, online therapy is not suited for individuals who are in a state of crisis, actively suicidal, or who present a danger to others. In addition, if you are in a violent relationship, are experiencing psychosis, or have severe substance abuse issues, you should seek out face-to-face services instead of looking into online therapy.
However, in other situations, online therapy is both safe and highly effective. A wide body of research has shown that in some situations online therapy services can be just as effective as in-person therapy services. In 2016, two researchers combed through over 1000 articles published between 2002 and 2012 on the effectiveness of online cognitive behavioral therapy. After looking through the results of this research, they concluded that online therapy is a clinically efficient, convenient, and effective means of treating depression and anxiety. In some of the studies they read through, online therapy was even shown to be more effective than therapy performed in person.
8 Reasons to Seek Out Online Therapy
Not only has the effectiveness of online therapy been established, but it can actually be more ideal than in-person therapy in certain situations. Here are eight reasons you might choose to seek out online therapy instead of therapy in our office.
The convenience of online counseling is attractive to you. Online counseling can be extremely convenient and provide a lot of room for flexibility in your schedule. If you need or want convenience for any reason, online counseling could be a great fit.
You have a busy lifestyle. One of the reasons people need convenience is because of their busy lifestyles. Perhaps you are working over sixty hours a week and just don’t have time to drive to a counseling office. Perhaps you are a stay-at-home or single parent and can’t find a babysitter. Online counseling can be a great way to for you to get the help you need without adding additional stress to your busy life.
You travel a lot for work or other reasons. Maybe your life isn’t necessarily busy, but you find yourself traveling all of the time. In this situation, it can be difficult to keep regular appointments on those weeks when you are not in the area. Online counseling ensures you won’t experience any gaps throughout the course of treatment.
You live in a rural area that has limited access to mental health services. This may be one of the top reasons individuals seek out online counseling. Some rural areas have few mental health facilities and the ones that are available only offer sub-par treatment. Online therapy means you would not have to drive a long distance to find great care. It can also connect you with a provider who specializes in your area of need if that is not available around you.
You have a physical disability, chronic illness, or chronic pain condition that makes leaving the home and traveling difficult or impossible. Online counseling is ideal for individuals who are homebound or who have limited mobility. Perhaps the thought of getting ready for a counseling session, driving to a counseling session, and sitting through a counseling session feels overwhelming to you because of severe medical issues. Online counseling allows you to receive the help you need from the comfort of your home.
You have an anxiety disorder that makes it difficult for you to leave the house. An anxiety disorder can also make leaving the house difficult. Perhaps you have social anxiety, agoraphobia, or PTSD. Leaving the house exposes you to triggers that are much too overwhelming for you. By receiving counseling from home, you can more comfortably work towards facing things in the outside world that cause you distress.
You don’t want to be seen receiving counseling services. Online therapy affords a great deal of privacy. Perhaps you want to avoid being seen walking into a counseling center or sitting in the counseling waiting room due to your status in the community or some other reason. Whatever the reason may be, when it comes to online therapy, you can rest assured that no one will know you are receiving mental health treatment.
You started with face-to-face therapy, but moved and don’t want to change therapists. Online therapy can be a great means of continuing services if you move too far away to drive to our office. Finding a new therapist can slow progress and be a huge hassle. Once you have started with one of our therapists, our online therapy services ensure that relationship can continue as long as you need.
Hopefully, you now have a good idea of whether or not our online therapy services would be a good fit for you. And maybe you are ready to take the next step forward. If so, we would love to talk to you about this and answer any further questions you might have about online therapy. Give us a call and we will be happy to help you out!
Lau, P. L., Jaladin, R. A., Abdullah, H.S. (2013) Understanding the two sides of online counseling and their ethical and legal ramifications. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 103, 1243-1251.
Gratzer, D. & Khalid-Khan, F. (2016). Internet delivered cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of psychiatric illness. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 188(4).
Author- Sam Nabil is a counselor and psychotherapist in Cincinnati, OH. You can find out more about him HERE