Facebook and Twitter are testament to the reach and influence of the internet and to the evolution of traditional social contact. So it is too with psychological therapies, which are increasingly being offered ‘online’.
Harley Therapy has introduced online counselling and therapy services in response to requests for quality counselling outside its central London practices.
Whether you are in London, Ontario or London, England, you can now access a professionally trained counsellor through the internet.Online counselling typically entails a 50 minute interactive counselling session. If you have a webcam you can see and talk to the therapist directly. Many of the elements of a traditional counselling session are preserved. If you don’t have a webcam, then it is possible to communicate in real-time with Windows MSM or Yahoo Messenger or Skype.
Dr Sheri Jacobson whose psychotherapy and counselling training spanned 9 years was initially sceptical about this mode of therapy. “I thought that the dynamic of live face-to-face contact and its associated non-verbal cues would be lost in online counselling. Also, in a regular counselling we can provide a safe physical space free from interruption, whereas online counselling relies on the client setting this up. However, I have come to appreciate that there is a growing demand for services through the internet. In particular, online counselling suits those individuals who travel frequently or who live abroad.”
Conducted properly, online therapy can have many advantages. Dr Jacobson remarks that “communication via a webcam can lower people’s inhibitions. Some people feel more open on a webcam and may be quicker to reveal personal problems than in person. “
For some, online therapy is a way of dipping their toes into the world of therapy but for others it replaces weekly face-to-face sessions.
With the advent of online support groups and computer therapy programs such as the government-backed ‘Beating the Blues’, we are likely to see more demand of online counselling services.
Michelle Bassam, is an online counsellor and has been working in this medium for many years. She is available for webcam counselling and email therapy exchanges.