Virtual Healing: A Guide To Skype Therapy For Remote Counseling
A poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association found that telemedicine use has grown significantly in recent years, with 6 in 10 participants reporting that they would be willing to use telehealth services for mental healthcare. Technological advancements have made receiving therapy online an increasingly attractive option to those seeking counseling. This form of mental health treatment, often referred to as telehealth, is conducted via an internet-connected device or phone rather than in-person, as is often the case with traditional therapy sessions. With an increasing number of people seeking therapy, online therapy platforms have emerged as a convenient option for many people needing mental health support.
Online mental healthcare may involve Skype therapy sessions. In these sessions, clients use the popular video calling service to connect with health professionals without the need for in-person, face-to-face interaction. People can seek therapy from the comfort of their own homes, with only an internet connection and a Skype account or another supported platform.
While Skype is one of the more popular teleconferencing services and can be used for teletherapy purposes, it isn’t a dedicated online therapy platform. Still, it offers many of the same benefits provided by other forms of online therapy, including:
Ease Of Use: One potential advantage is the ease of use it can provide. Clients can receive therapy from wherever they have an internet connection, including the comfort of their own home, eliminating the need for travel and time spent commuting to a therapist's office. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who may have limited mobility or live in remote areas.
Flexibility: Another potential benefit is its flexibility in terms of scheduling. Clients can often arrange appointments at more convenient times, allowing them to balance their therapy sessions with work, school, and personal commitments more easily. Online therapy platforms may also provide connection to a broader range of available therapists, allowing clients to find a professional who can focus on their specific needs or issues.
Comfort: This form of therapy may also provide a more comfortable environment for some clients. Receiving therapy from their own home may help clients feel more at ease, which can promote open and honest communication with their therapist. In addition, those who may feel nervous about face-to-face therapy sessions may find that they can express themselves more openly through online communication methods such as phone or video chat.
There are several types of sessions catering to various needs and preferences, including:
For those seeking individual support, therapy sessions through Skype can offer personalized counseling in a one-on-one setting. Clients can discuss their concerns during these sessions and work through personal challenges with a skilled therapist.
Couples experiencing relationship issues may also benefit from this type of therapy. These types of sessions can allow each partner to address specific relationship challenges, like communication problems or trust issues. A Skype therapist may also be able to help couples develop skills designed to strengthen their bond.
There are also group therapy sessions available, allowing multiple participants to have discussions and support one another. These sessions can be beneficial for clients experiencing similar concerns, such as social anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. In addition, group therapy can provide a sense of community and rapport.
This therapy is also an option for families looking to improve their relationships and work through concerns together. In online family therapy sessions, family members can have the chance to talk about their feelings and thoughts with the help of an online therapist. This approach may be especially helpful for families who find it hard to attend in-person sessions together. Online family therapy can address various concerns, like parenting struggles, supporting a family member with mental health concerns, or adapting to life changes. By participating in these virtual sessions, families can learn better ways to communicate, solve problems, and create stronger connections with one another with the support of therapists, counselors, or social workers.
Various Therapeutic Approaches
Therapy through Skype can include various therapeutic approaches, depending on the therapist's expertise and the client's needs. Some therapists may focus on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), while others might use psychodynamic therapy, holistic therapy, or other techniques to help clients address their mental health concerns.
While it may have several benefits for people seeking mental health support, it is not without its challenges. Overcoming these obstacles can help promote a successful therapeutic experience in a virtual setting. Included below are several tips for how to handle some of the potential challenges:
Managing Technical Difficulties
One of the common challenges in therapy through Skype is managing technical difficulties, such as poor internet connection, hardware problems, or issues with the Skype platform. You may be able to avoid these issues by having a stable internet connection and up-to-date software before each session. In addition, you might consider having a backup plan, such as a secondary communication method (phone call or alternative video conferencing platform), in case technical problems come up during a session.
Building Rapport With Your Counselor
Having a strong therapeutic relationship can help support a successful therapy session, but sometimes, it can be more challenging in a virtual setting. To build rapport, try to take the time to talk about your background, concerns, and goals for therapy; try to be open and honest with your therapist, and listen actively in return. If you have concerns, discuss them with your therapist, and they can help address them to create a warm, comfortable virtual environment.
Managing Distractions In A Home Setting
In a home setting, clients may face distractions that can interrupt or detract from behavioral therapy sessions. To reduce distractions, try to choose a quiet space for your therapy sessions through Skype and let others in your household know when you will be attending therapy to avoid interruptions. It may also be helpful to silence your phone or other devices to try to maintain focus during sessions.
Handling Emotional Content Or Sensitive Topics
Talking about sensitive topics and reading verbal cues can sometimes be challenging in a virtual setting. Both clients and therapists often need to make an effort to communicate their emotions clearly and honestly during sessions. If you're struggling to convey your feelings, don't hesitate to ask for clarification or discuss your concerns with your therapist.
By proactively tackling these challenges, you can create a supportive and effective virtual environment with your therapist.
You may also consider using a high-quality headset or microphone to enhance your audio experience during sessions.
When attending online therapy sessions, it can also be helpful to establish a routine and treat them like in-person therapy. Be punctual for your appointments to have sufficient time for each session, and make sure to communicate with your online therapist to address any concerns or difficulties you have during your therapeutic journey.
It may also be beneficial to reflect on your expectations and goals for therapy. Set realistic expectations and be prepared to participate in your sessions. Having a strong therapeutic relationship is key to achieving positive mental health outcomes.
Finally, it's important to prepare yourself for possible difficulties relating to scheduling mental health appointments, even through Skype. An APA survey found that one in three survey respondents had difficulty scheduling an appointment for therapy services. If you are having trouble finding a therapist who is willing to conduct sessions through Skype, it may be helpful to look into other online therapy platforms.
Getting Started With Online Therapy
If you are interested in getting started with online therapy, there are a variety of options available, including BetterHelp. You can get started whenever you’re ready, and you will be matched with a therapist based on your particular needs and situation. As noted earlier, some people may find online therapy to feel more comfortable, as it can be done from the comfort of your own home.
While online therapy might not be the most suitable option for everyone and every situation, it can be a great option for people who prefer the flexibility and comfort of virtual counseling or cannot seek in-person therapy. Not only that, but research has found online therapy to be effective for a range of mental health conditions, including depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and more.
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