Technology is playing a large role in making counseling more accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. Telehealth allows counseling services to be accessed at any time and practically anywhere. Emergency and crisis counseling services are available 24 hours a day, thus helping people when they need it the most and preventing more serious situations.
Virtual counseling sessions
Having to go to a physical location for counseling presents challenges for some people in need of counseling. Disabilities, phobias, and few options for transportation can result in someone not having access to the counseling they could benefit from. Even those that have transportation may find it hard to set aside the time during regular office hours.
Virtual counseling via Zoom, Google Meet, and other proprietary platforms offers counseling options for anyone with access to a smartphone or tablet. Telehealth counseling services offer significant cost savings compared to traditional in-person visits. Telehealth appointments can be made outside of traditional office hours, making it far easier for working adults to access counseling sessions.
Emergency counseling sessions via telehealth mean that those facing a crisis can get help quickly. Accessing help when dealing with a crisis can prevent extreme actions such as self-harm, relapses, or suicide. Counsellors are trained to manage crisis situations with techniques that can be used both in person and in virtual environments.
A comfortable counseling environment
The whole process of making an appointment and being in a strange room with a counselor can be pretty intimidating for some people, especially those with anxiety disorders or that are totally new to the concept of therapeutic counseling.
Creating and keeping an online appointment can feel more like the person seeking counseling is in control. At any time during the counseling session, they are uncomfortable, they can disconnect or end the session with ease. In addition, they can pick and choose where they are at when they receive counseling. It is far more comfortable for some to be at home or even at a park rather than in an office.
Fast access to counseling services
Another increasingly popular method of counseling is text therapy counseling where one has access to a counselor via virtual chat rooms or text messages. Text therapy counseling may work well for some people who feel more comfortable sharing their true thoughts and feelings through messages. It requires the counsellor to be trained to communicate clearly, and empathetically using writing. If you’re interested in developing the necessary skills to offer counselling in many different formats, you will need training from a quality program, like those offered at Walsh University.
Once you are comfortable with the basic and advanced techniques of counseling in person, over video, and phone, you can branch out into providing text counseling through services like Talkspace, Betterhelp, or Calmery. Text therapy is popular because it provides practically unlimited help. You are not limited to the amount of text messages you can send or receive, and you pay a weekly or monthly rate that is less than the cost of weekly in person therapy sessions.
Better privacy for counseling
In some cases, a person may wish to keep the fact that they have a counselor or therapist private from family and friends. When someone has to attend counseling sessions in person then they have to make an appointment during office hours and then commute there. It can be much harder to hide these sessions than if they are done via a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Counseling sessions can take place wherever there is cell phone coverage. People with family members who would be averse to seeking counseling can still get the help and support they need to live healthy and productive lives.
Easier group counseling
Family or couple’s counseling are both great examples of counseling that can be difficult to coordinate for in office visits. Counseling via Zoom or an App allows spouses, partners, and other family members or friends to participate in group counseling sessions.
Families can be spread out over many locations due to school or work. One partner or spouse may travel a lot for work. Families dealing with divorce may wish to seek counseling, but one parent may live too far away to coordinate an in-office counseling session.
Improving access to group counseling is extremely helpful when dealing with complex issues involving many people.
Virtual counseling is also something that someone may be more likely to agree to than meeting in the same room with the family or friends involved in conflict. As stated before, a virtual counseling session does not make one feel as trapped in a space as an in-person one. If things become too strained, a person can take a time out or even completely disengage from the session if necessary.
Mental health services in high demand
Over the next decade, the demand for mental health services via online sources and apps to support and train the brain will undoubtedly grow, making it a great time to train to be a counselor. It is possible to work remotely as a counselor if you choose that career path.
Many counselors conduct in-person and virtual visits to offer patients the option of choosing which counseling situation they are most comfortable with. Some patients may choose a combination of in person and virtual visits to suit their schedule and personal needs.
Mental health care in rural areas
There are plenty of rural and remote areas that do not have adequate mental health resources. Residents of smaller towns and rural areas may also desire to seek out help that is not local because they do not want to be seen going to a specific office by their friends, family, or neighbors.
Having easy to access counseling can help prevent substance abuse, domestic violence, and other issues that many rural areas suffer from at higher-than-average rates.
Technology offers a wide range of possibilities
When it comes to regular counseling sessions it is important to find a counselor that you are very comfortable with. Finding a good fit may take trying out a few different counselors or you may hit it off with the first counselor at the first session. Online counseling makes it easy to try out different counselors and even different apps and services until you find what feels right for you.
Easy appointment setting
Finding a counselor and getting an initial appointment at a brick-and-mortar office may take far longer than you wish to wait. The first appointment is harder to make than appointments once you are an established patient. Of course, there is always the chance that a lot of the counselors close to you are mostly booked up.
It is much easier to set appointments for online counselling. In fact, there are a lot of counselors available 24 hours a day because of the flexibility of providing online services. Emergency counseling is usually available for last minute scheduling, although you may have to speak with a counselor that is not your regular provider.
Mental health services for the modern world
Over the years, more people will turn to virtual and text therapy sessions to take care of their mental healthcare needs.
Virtual counseling helps more people have access to the immediate help they need to work through the complex issues life throws at us at any given moment.
While virtual counseling sessions are not as covered by insurance companies, they are often much more affordable out of pocket than in-person counseling sessions.