Is Online Counselling for Me?
Technology is often a part of our everyday lives, our jobs, our hobbies, even our grocery shopping can all be done from behind a screen. But can online services replace face-to-face counselling services?
The short answer is: possibly (there’s no real short answer). You need to consider a few things when thinking about online counselling, as it’s not for everyone but can always be used as a gateway to face-to-face counselling if that is your goal. For others online counselling has proven to be very effective, so it is up to you as an individual. Here are a few things to think about when considering speaking, typing or video chatting to a web-counsellor:
• Convenient and easily accessible: from the home and even from the workplace, if you have access to internet and a device you should be able to access an online service.
• You can remain anonymous if you wish: You needn’t leave your home if that is where you would feel most comfortable seeking help.
• Various ways to communicate: You can try instant chats, email and even video chats, start where you feel comfortable.
• Often more affordable: frequently there are less overhead charges and additionally you save money on transportation to and from the session.
• Lack of visual and verbal signals: this won’t necessarily affect your counselling session, but sometimes there are drawbacks to not being able to see body language and tone of voice.
• Technological issues: If your computer, tablet, phone or internet connection gives out, even temporarily, it can negatively affect the flow of you session. Try your best to ensure a secure connection where possible.
• Is my therapist qualified? You must ensure you find a credible, certified therapist or counsellor who works ethically and effectively (remember to take into account risks to security and confidentiality).
• The less personal approach is not for all and some may find they don’t connect as well through online forums.
In the end it is something you have to consider for yourself, check out these links if you are considering accessing web-counselling services:
CounsellingOnline – http://www.counsellingonline.org.au/how-we-can-help
A free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling service.
Eheadspace – https://www.eheadspace.org.au/
If you’re under 25, you can contact eheadspace if you need support or are worried about your mental health. They offer online and telephone counselling.
MensLine Australia – https://mensline.org.au/
A national telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns.
1800Respect – https://www.1800respect.org.au/telephone-and-online-counselling/#online
This website can provide online and phone support to you if you or someone you know is a victim or survivor of family violence, domestic violence or sexual assault.
MindhealthConnect – http://www.mindhealthconnect.org.au/helplines-and-chat
A list of online chatting services as well as helplines to consider.
If you feel you need immediate help or are in crisis, please contact:
Lifeline – Ph. 13 11 14 (https://www.lifeline.org.au/)
Lifeline provides 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services; you can call or chat online if you are having trouble staying safe.
If you feel unsafe right now or are in immediate danger, please call 000.
There is no wrong answer when considering face-to-face or online counselling, as long as you ensure you are speaking to a qualified individual, and you keep an open mind. If you try one form of help and it doesn’t work for you, try another!
The web is a great place to educate yourself on mental health, from online courses to articles and forums, and as internet usage grows worldwide so does online therapy as a tool for assisting those experiencing troubles with mental health and wellbeing. It can be a good way to find advice for a friend, family member or partner experiencing issues as well, so if you would like to seek help consider trying the above resources, do a search for counsellors local to your area or speak to your general practitioner.