How Counseling Websites Differ From Traditional Therapy
In traditional forms of talk therapy, patient and counselor agree to meet at the counselor's office at a given time for an hour or so. If the patient cannot make the appointment - during office hours only - due to work obligations, travel or any other reason, this therapeutic opportunity is lost, although it will typically still have to be paid for. Counseling websites, however, have no such restrictions, therapy can be obtained at any time, from anywhere and by anyone.
How Counseling Websites Work
Online counseling services typically don't employ therapists themselves, instead, serve as a kind of clearing house that mediates between patients and counselors. One of their functions is to make sure that these mental health professionals are indeed qualified and licensed by the proper authorities. While they also provide a technological platform that allows for greater patient confidentiality than what is available using generic media such as Skype or email, and process payments.
Benefits Offered by Counseling Websites
Discussing your deepest, innermost feelings with another person may be easier for you in a face to face setting, or more difficult, depending on the level of rapport you have with them and your personal inclinations. When discussing truly sensitive issues though, many people find it easier to open up when they know that not only their secrets are protected by professional confidentiality, but that their very identity is hidden as well.
This is one of the advantages that counseling websites offer: there is no need for a patient to identify himself, tell the service where he lives or what he does for a living. This can be extremely important to someone in a sensitive position socially, or struggling with a problem such as addiction.
Some patients in need of mental health services may be housebound, others live far from the closest population centers while others still might not be able to take time off from work. By contrast, accessing therapy from a smartphone or laptop can be done anywhere at any time of the day. Online therapy typically takes place as a text conversation, although patients can also request a telephone or video conversation.
Availability of a Wide Range of Specializations
By offering their services to a large number of therapists, an online therapy service can cater to almost any need a patient may have. Otherwise, something as simple as a language barrier can easily prevent effective treatment from being possible.
With so many mental health issues not existing in isolation, but rather being associated with others or being caused by additional problems, a patient may also not find all the care he needs in the person of only one counselor. If he is a client of an online service, however, he may seek counseling for anything from anxiety disorders to insomnia on the same platform without difficulty.
There are certainly some things telepsychiatry is not capable of: prescribing medication for one, or offering a comfortable physical presence. Even with these limitations, though, counseling websites are now a permanent feature of the mental health landscape, offering a viable and effective treatment option to millions of people who were formerly left without access to help.