Online Counseling Gaining Ground Over Face-to Face Counseling
Counseling has been conducted for over a century via the traditional means of face-to-face interaction, complete with either the traditional couch or simply a comfy chair and a glass of water and the ubiquitous box of tissues.
While face-to-face counseling will never disappear, the benefits of online counseling via email is on the upswing. And with outstanding results.
Researchers have been studying the efficacy of online versus face-to-face counseling and have found that not only is online counseling efficient, but in many instances it outstrips traditional counseling in terms of speed and long term results.
I have been conducting both types of counseling and have been firmly won over by the benefits of online counseling and would use it preferentially to face-to-face therapy in most cases. I too have found that recovery is faster using online counseling as compared to regular counseling.
There are many reasons for this some of which you can find outlined on our home page. Apart from the fact that the Internet now permits people in remote places to access counseling where previously they had to travel great distances to obtain help, many people prefer the anonymity of online counseling and are prepared to talk about issues which they would find too difficult to discuss in person.
But for me the foremost benefit is that, in having to write down what is troubling you and answering the questions I may pose, the client is forced to really think about the issue that they are struggling with. I know from experience that it is relatively easy for a client to cleverly avoid issues when talking face-to-face and it becomes necessary for the therapist to gently guide the client back to the issue at hand. This is harder to do with online therapy and the benefit to the client is that recovery, or at least improvement, comes more quickly, provided, of course, that the client is prepared to work diligently.
But my personal views are also upheld by studies conducted by the University
of New South Wales in Australia who found during a comparison of face-to-face
versus online counseling for depression that counseling via the Internet
was just as effective as traditional counseling but took less time to
obtain similar results. Participants taking part in the trial were found
to experience significant improvement in considerably shorter times
than traditional face-to-face therapy.