For some people around the world, the choice is not about in-person or online counseling; it is about having access or not to therapy services. Online services allow people who have to drive for a long time or even have mobility challenges, also people who have small children and leaving home is a hassle to access those professional services. For professionals with limited time during the day, it also represents a possibility to focus on themselves and not having to worry about missing working hours. I open opportunities for both clients and professionals.
Telemental Health is an area that has been growing since the early 2000's. It is still relatively new to the mental health services, but it already has shown positive outcomes on research. According to a study done by Wagner, Horn, and Maecker (2014), Internet-based intervention is equally beneficial to regular face-to-face therapy. However, the reduction of symptoms is prolonged by three months after finishing treatment on clients that had online counseling.
Also, other research shows that clients tend to stay longer and have a more significant outcome in phone counseling (Mohr et al., 2005). Also, satisfaction with the process is higher (Reese, Conoley, and Brossart (2006) as establishing of quick rapport (therapeutic alliance) (Simpson, 2001).
Like traditional therapy, online counseling requires you to schedule an appointment. The difference in online counseling it gives you more freedom around appointment, no need to traveling outside your route and people tend to be more open when there is not a physical presence of a counselor. Many people will feel more comfortable knowing that will not have to commute or be worry that someone they know will be seeing them going to a counselor office or even meeting the person (or any person) in the waiting area.
The therapist will be talking to you in a real-time by using technology-assisted methods may include telecounseling (telephone), secure e-mail communication, chat, video conferencing or stand-alone software programs such as Voxy.me