Virtual Counselling

Virtual Counselling

Virtual counselling has developed considerably over the last decade. As options for video calls and teleconferencing have improved, mental health professionals have found more ways to connect with clients. Mental health institutions are embracing the ability to meet with clients remotely. The mental health community has found that this type of therapy can be just as effective as in office therapy. More options are being developed every day to help provide the right platforms to engage in therapy. If you’re looking for a flexible option that allows you to meet with your counsellor from anywhere, and saves time on the commute to the office, virtual counselling might be the right choice for you.

 

So what is virtual counselling? It’s a safe and secure way to meet with your therapist at a scheduled time, which makes it far more convenient. Typically, you meet face to face via a video conferencing software to interact with your therapist. This saves time from you needing to travel to and from the office, and allows you to meet with your therapist if you’re travelling. It also gives you more options of who you can see as a therapist (as long as that therapist is providing virtual counselling services, not all therapists provide this service). 

Virtual counselling works. Institutions worldwide were recognizing the benefits of online therapy long before the covid epidemic hit, causing many therapists to move to affordable online therapy options to continue sessions. Research shows that treatment online can be very effective for many mental health issues. Here are some examples of published peer-reviewed articles:

 

  • Internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive-behavioral intervention for depression: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial
    In the past decade, a large body of research has demonstrated that internet-based interventions can have beneficial effects on depression. However, only a few clinical trials have compared internet-based depression therapy with an equivalent face-to-face treatment. The primary aim of this study was to compare treatment outcomes of an internet-based intervention with a face-to-face intervention for depression in a randomized non-inferiority trial.
    Source: Journal of Affective Disorders (2014)
  • Computer therapy for the anxiety and depression disorders is effective, acceptable and practical health care: An updated meta-analysis
    A 2010 meta-analysis of internet-delivered CBT (iCBT) RCTs argued ‘computer therapy for the anxiety and depressive disorders was effective, acceptable and practical health care’ without data on effectiveness or practicality in routine practice.
    Source: Journal of Anxiety Disorders (2018)
  • Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of individually tailored Internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety disorders in a primary care population: A randomized controlled trial
    A significant proportion of the general population suffers from anxiety disorders, often with comorbid psychiatric conditions. Internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy (ICBT) has been found to be a potent treatment for patients with specific psychiatric conditions. The aim of this trial was to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ICBT when tailoring the treatment to address comorbidities and preferences for primary-care patients with a principal anxiety disorder.
    Source: Behaviour Research and Therapy

 

The data shows that patients with conditions that are treatable via internet delivered therapy find positive results from virtual counselling services. This type of treatment is just as effective and is a viable option especially for those with social or anxiety issues.

There are some things to consider though. Online therapy isn’t a great fit for certain conditions which require in-person therapy. Also, if you find that you struggle with telecommunications to communicate, getting set up with the right system may take a little time. You may also wish to do some research on the therapists that provide virtual counselling to see what their reviews are. Not everyone is comfortable leaving reviews for their therapist, but you can still check out online therapy reviews to start to determine who provides the best online therapy services. You should speak with a therapist to determine if virtual counselling is a good fit for you and the therapy you need.