Many people ask whether online counselling is effective. You will be the best judge because you know best what works for you. So, here are some things to think about. Firstly, does online learning suit your personality and learning style? Secondly, is your counsellor experienced in online counselling? Thirdly, is the counsellor a good fit for you? Fourth, and most important, how well do you and your counsellor collaborate together?
What is online counselling?
Online Counselling is also known as Virtual Counselling, e-Counselling or Internet Counselling. It is one-to-one communication with a counsellor over the internet. For example, Video conference, mobile apps, or phone may be used. Online chat, email or text messaging may also be a feature.
How effective is online counselling?
According to The Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association, effective online counselling relies on the relationship between client and therapist.
Research shows that Online Counselling is as effective as face-to-face counselling with many types of issues. For instance, it has been successful in managing stress, anxiety, depression and alcohol addiction. However, Online Counselling is not recommended for crisis situations, unless it is a crisis service. Therefore is not recommended for serious mental health conditions, substance use disorders, suicide risk or psychosis. This is because these areas all require more intensive in-person treatment.
Further research needs to be done on what makes online counselling effective.
What are the benefits of online counselling?
Recently, when discussing online counselling with a client, he said he got more out of it because he talked more openly and felt more comfortable in his own space. Also, he could do it from any location and any time. He also said that he felt the same level of connection with me as he did in face-to-face counselling.
Here are some possible benefits of Online Counselling:
- easier to take the initial first step;
- accessible for people living in rural and remote areas, or with mobility issues;
- more comfortable and relaxed online than face-to-face;
- Conveniently from home;
- less stigma than traditional face-to-face counselling;
- sometimes more affordable;
- some Health funds offer rebates.
What are the risks of online counselling?
It is important to know that your counsellor is registered with a professional association. This means that counsellors meet required training standards and have ongoing supervision and professional development. Importantly, they are required to follow the Code of Ethics.
Questions for consideration:
- Is the counsellor is trained in the areas you need help?
- Does the online service meet Australian Privacy standards?
- How will your personal information will be stored?
- Do you give your Informed Consent for counselling and the approach?
- Who do you contact in a crisis situation?
- How do you make a complaint if you are unhappy with the service.
How do I access counselling services online?
You don’t need a referral to a counsellor, unless you see a Registered Psychologist and you can now access Online Counselling from your computer, phone or mobile device. Furthermore, sessions can be run from the comfort of your own home or workplace. Meaning you will be able to choose a time and place that suits you.
How can I help you?
I work solely online, using a unique blend of counselling and coaching. I see individuals and couples for a range of issues, including help with relationships, managing stress, anxiety and depression, alcohol abuse, self-esteem and confidence.
My clients report very positive experiences with online counselling and coaching. They say they feel a strong connection with me online. Some say they find themselves opening up more online than they did face-to-face.
I am a registered Clinical Counsellor with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA), which means I practice by their Ethical Code of Conduct. Because I am also a nationally and internationally certified NLP Master Practitioner in Coaching, I use both counselling and coaching in my practice.
I use a secure online platform called Cliniko. This is the platform of choice for Australian Health Professionals and exceeds Australian Privacy Principles because data is stored securely through Cliniko. This includes written notes which are locked in a secure filing cabinet and there are no unsecured electronic copies.
I provide Confidentiality and Privacy policies before we start working together. Further, your Informed Consent is sought before using my counselling services.
Who to call in a Crisis
Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Trudi Griffin (May 2019). Internet Therapy: great idea but does it work? Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association.
Kendra Chandra. Medically reviewed by Steve Gans, M.D. (Updated September 20, 2020). The Pros and Cons of Online Therapy.