The History of Online Counselling
Online counselling, also referred to as e-counselling and telecounselling, is mental health services and assistance which is provided over the internet. Typical means of providing online counselling include video conferencing, messaging, phone calls, and emailing which can happen either in real-time (such as video conferencing) or in a time-delayed format (such as emailing).
Whilst there’s no doubt that online counselling has certain limitations, it is fast becoming a vital resource for a growing number of people who require much needed support and assistance. Despite such limitations, online counselling also has many advantages over traditional counselling such as the convenience and accessibility that this delivery method offers. In today’s article, we’ll be discussing the history of online counselling along with the effectiveness of this method when compared with traditional face-to-face counselling.
History of Online Counselling
The idea of distance communication provided by a counselor to a client is not a new concept. The famous Sigmund Freud commonly used letters to communicate with clients to provide vital support and assistance. Furthermore, self-help groups and research emerged once the internet was released, and many people have benefited from gaining more knowledge about their conditions and means of treatment.
In more recent times, the growth of online counseling has given rise to the foundation of the International Society for Mental Health Online. This organisation recognized the growing need for online health care and offers information and guidelines for clients who are actively seeking to receive mental health support over the internet. In addition, online apps such as Talkspace and BetterHelp, which are devoted to mental health services, offer information and prices regarding various treatment options.
Effectiveness of Online Counselling
While some forms of online counselling have more limitations than others, recent studies have suggested that clients benefit greatly from a range of online counselling services. The World Journal of Psychiatry published a study which showed that clients who receive mental health services through video conferencing had high levels of satisfaction and improvement to their state of mental health. Additionally, further research has suggested that online counselling is an effective treatment option for a number of health issues and is particularly effective for people who live in rural areas where accessibility to counselling and therapy services is limited.
Several recent studies have suggested that online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) combined with online clinical care was highly effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other forms of emotional distress. In fact, a 2015 study showed that online counselling using CBT was equally effective as traditional face-to-face counselling in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
While it’s clear that online counselling is not always appropriate for all cases, there are many people who will benefit from seeking mental health services and speaking with a qualified and experienced counselling in a comfortable environment. It’s paramount that counsellors who are offering online services are complying with confidentiality and privacy guidelines that are required for traditional face-to-face counselling.
Online counselling has been used widely in the past to help people in the treatment of their mental health conditions. Not everyone is available to travel to the physical office of a counsellor to receive these services, and for those people, online counselling has been invaluable to their treatment outcomes. While research suggests that online counselling is effective in the treatment of mental health conditions, it’s clearly not suitable for all cases such as those with substance addiction, psychiatric conditions, and schizophrenia.
Online counselling offers an accessible, convenient, and affordable means of providing counselling services to people who prefer to receive treatment in the comfort of their own homes. If you’re interested in receiving the benefits of online counselling, reach out to the experts at Stack Counselling today.