Have you ever seen a man and woman together in a restaurant who are more engaged with their phones than they are with each other? One of the curses of our day is that it’s easier to mindlessly scroll through our phones than it is to connect with the person across from us.
At the same time, when used well, current technology can allow us to connect with friends and family across the globe, allowing us to keep our relationships strong. We can Facetime or Skype with a loved one and almost feel like they are right there with us!
These changes in technology are also beginning to impact the field of counseling in some really positive ways. And current research indicates that counseling via video call is just as effective as in-person counseling.
What is Online Counseling?
As technology becomes more sophisticated and more accessible, video conferencing is becoming more and more common. There are many benefits to online counseling, but it’s also important to do your due diligence, to ensure that the coach or counselor you choose to work with is qualified and the services are secure.
Benefits of Online Counseling
The advantages of doing online or distance counseling are numerous: “Privacy”
You can have your sessions in the privacy of your own home, with no risk of running into someone you know as you enter an office or sit in a waiting room.
You don’t have to spend time traveling to and from your appointments, and sessions are easier to schedule and keep since you can do them from anywhere. Moms with small children can plan their sessions while a child is napping instead of needing to hire a sitter.
Many online counseling practices, offer groups and subscription programs which help to lower the cost. And depending upon the credentials of the therapist, you may be able to seek insurance reimbursement.
If you or your spouse is traveling for work, you can still plan a group session. Or if you want to have a pastor or family member join you, they can login from another location. Another advantage is that couples who are separated can have a video session together, without being in the same room. In the early stages of counseling or working toward reconciliation this can be very helpful.
Do Your Research
If you’re thinking about online counseling, here are some things to consider: “Expertise”
Does the website deliver what it promises? Has the organization been recognized by other known publications or experts in the field? Do the counselors and coaches have expertise in their field?
Are your video calls safe? Who else is in the counselor’s home or workplace? Is the video platfrom HIPAA compliant? (Skype and Facetime are not HIPAA compliant. The Marriage Recovery Center uses a HIPAA compliant video service provided by Ring Central.)
Many insurance companies will cover online counseling or teletherapy, but clients should be sure to check with their insurance in advance. It’s also important to find out if you are working with a licensed counselor or coach. Coaching services tend to cost less, but they are typically not covered by insurance.
Taking the Next Step
Whether you choose online counseling or face-to-face counseling, the most important consideration is making sure that your counselor or coach is qualified to help you with your particular situation, and that you have a good connection with him or her. The purpose of counseling is to challenge you and help you make better decisions, and a good counselor will help you to become fully aware of your needs and how to be healthier in all areas of your life. Keep these things in mind as you seek out the right counselor and consider online counseling as a convenient way to get the help you need!
If you would like to learn more about our online counseling services and programs, contact us here, or call our Client Care team at 206.219.0145.