According to Forbes, the average person spends about 4.3 hours on the phone per day; a number that has only increased with the Coronavirus pandemic. Whether you fall above those four hours or well below, many of our regular activities have shifted to a virtual setting.
Although unchecked screen time can have negative effects, technology can be extremely useful. We use it to buy groceries, find directions, listen to music, communicate with friends, email coworkers, track health data and so much more. Many tools that benefit our daily lives now fit in the palm of your hand.
Online counseling has been around for years but has increased in popularity in large thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. At first, many considered it a substitute to their in-person therapy sessions, but have since come to prefer online counseling.
If you’re in the same boat or are considering starting online counseling, you’ll likely want to know if the services you receive remotely have proven to be effective. The short answer is that online counseling works, read on to learn why.
Does online counseling work?
Yes. Online counseling has proven its worth and there’s plenty of research to back it up. A meta-analysis (a summary of numerous studies on the same topic) published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders on computer-based counseling services found online therapy to be effective health care for anxiety and depression.
Online therapy provides help in the same way that in-person therapy does. Both operate primarily using psychotherapy, or talk therapy. In sessions, remote or face-to-face, a person processes and heals from experiences and works toward mental health goals. A phone or video-conferencing platform allows for the same exchanges between therapist and client as traditional therapy.
What you get from online counseling
The efficiency of online counseling offers all the same perks as traditional in-person therapy and a few bonus perks. When you participate in online counseling, here are some pros you can expect.
A major portion of any counseling service is learning to express emotions in a healthy way. Recognizing and reconciling with past experiences or a history of trauma takes time and a safe environment to share openly. This can occur through question and answer format, sharing narratives or various therapeutic exercises.
However your counselor or therapist helps you to process emotions, it’s guaranteed to be part of your treatment. Thanks to advances in technology, counseling is able to be delivered in a way that is just as conducive to verbally processing emotions online as it is in person.
Benefit from a treatment plan
A counselor, with the help of your input, will develop a treatment plan using their knowledge and expertise. This professionally developed plan is your best resource for setting goals and seeing your progress.
A treatment plan works as a guide in your mental health journey. It can allow you to look ahead toward the big picture, find motivation and figure out your priorities. Your online counselor will use the plan to point out successes and strengths.
Change thought patterns and behavior
In counseling, your practitioner will probably incorporate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) into treatment at some point. CBT is one of the most evidence-based treatments for anxiety, depression, substance use and numerous other disorders. CBT is the process of identifying and changing thought patterns that negatively impact how we experience emotions and behave.
Change is hard, especially when we are working on changing ourselves. CBT gives an avenue to change our negative thoughts and behaviors and replace them with healthy habits. Like most psychotherapy, the main mode of treatment is through conversation, so CBT can be delivered seamlessly via online therapy.
Bonus perks of online counseling
There are also some benefits that you can expect from online counseling that in-office therapy can’t offer.
- Accessibility: First, online counseling is much more widely available. Living in a rural area or not having access to transportation are no longer barriers to service
- Less time-consuming: Forget the drive to the office, finding a parking spot and scheduling your day around an appointment. Online counseling can happen wherever you have access to the internet
- Flexibility: Virtual sessions are more convenient, and that makes them more flexible. You can still get the services you need when you’re traveling when your car breaks down and during snowstorms
Online counseling really works. There’s no denying the efficiency of online counseling, with its increased accessibility and convenience. Not to mention all of the traditional benefits of psychotherapy, like a treatment plan, processing emotions and changing habits.
We can access so much of the world through the connection the internet allows us, it only makes sense that online counseling has become so popular. There’s no better time than now to experience the advantages for yourself.
Taking care of your mental health shouldn’t wait. Whether or not you’ve tried therapy before you’ll want to take advantage of the perks of online therapy. Set up an appointment today through Mazzitti & Sullivan Counseling by calling 800-809-2925 to get the help you deserve.