Telepsychology or What to Know Before Doing Virtual Counseling
The digital age has opened up a whole new world where someone can receive any help they need from medical advice to telepsychology. It might bee odd to think of, an intimate and private session held over the internet but, remote counseling can be a boon for the right person. So much that was cut off to people is now accessible because of the internet and why should mental health be any different? The best online counseling services can be available to anyone in their own home and while it is an incredible era to live in, there are pros and cons to any new way to deliver a service.
Let’s go over the benefits and disadvantages of telepsychology and virtual counseling, so you can get a whole picture before committing to a session.
The Pros of Virtual Counseling
Telepsychology Offers Access to those without access
Before the advent of telecounseling, if you didn’t live within a reasonable driving distance from a psychologist then the help you need just wasn’t available. Now there is no reason why anyone with an internet connection can’t discuss their mental health with a therapist via Skype counseling. No matter where you are, a psychologist can be available.
It’s a great thing to know that you have help with problems you’re facing, no matter if you’re in a bustling city or a small hamlet. Competent professionals can be reached with virtual counseling.
Telepsychology Tends to be More Affordable and Convenient
Due to virtual mental health counseling not needing a brick and mortar building and the ability to have clients beyond the immediate area, their services tend to be more affordable than the average therapist. Them saving on their bills translates to more people being able to afford the help they need. That means more people can be helped and our communities healthier because of their ability to receive remote counseling.
Also, since anyone can have it anywhere it is more convenient. Those who know they need help but, with family and work, cannot make time for it can now fit it more easily into their schedules. You’re not adding an extra stop during a week or several times a week, you’re committing to a set amount of time at the place you wake up at and go home to every day.
Telepsychology Helps with Fear of Embarrassment and Vulnerability.
It’s natural for people to avoid things that they may feel embarrassed about or where they feel too vulnerable. Your home is rarely that place and so, you won’t fear being seen in a psychologist waiting room or feel too exposed in their office with telepsychology. It’s all done from where you feel most safe and that could help with your communicating during your remote counseling session. Being where you feel protected is certainly one of the advantages of telecounseling.
The Cons Virtual Counseling
As with any new way of doing things or technology, there are always drawbacks and telepsychology is no different. While there are many advantages, we should look at where it could fall flat.
We’re all familiar with video glitches, dropped calls, and spotty Wi-Fi or poor weather that leads to it. That can be a problem when deep in conversation in your remote counseling session. It can break the flow and impede treatment for why you’ve sought telecounseling. This can be quite the drawback, especially if you’re in an area that gets weak Wi-Fi service.
Credibility and Crisis
When it comes to psychologists, going to a private practice or hospital to see a professional you are certain that they have proper credentials. Most of the time, their diplomas will be on their walls and comfort you further. It isn’t always the case with telepsychology. You must take the extra step in discerning the competent and licensed therapist from those who are looking for a quick buck. As with anything on the internet, you have to do a little more homework than usual.
Another drawback of virtual counseling is the unavailability during a crisis. If it’s an emergency and you need to speak to your mental health provider, you have no direct access. Many brick and mortar psychologists have an emergency line to talk patients through a problem, many telecounseling sessions don’t offer this service. So, if you’re among those with ongoing and serious mental health needs or if you have a neurological or psychiatric problem, virtual mental health counseling may not be for you.
Credibility and the Law
Going back to a previous point but, worth repeating, is that you need to go the extra mile in making sure that the virtual counseling you’re interested in is credible. Look at reviews and check they have the proper license, go through sites that verify that the psychologist you’ll be speaking with has the proper credentials to help people seeking mental health assistance.
Different states have different laws and so, credibility isn’t just having a license to practice psychology or therapy but, making sure they’re able to practice in your state. Many professionals that offer telepsychology will list what states it is legal for them to practice in and so, make note of that. You don’t want to engage in virtual counseling that isn’t licensed to offer those services where you live, even if that state is only a few miles away from you.
Look at Telepsychology for Yourself
One of the best things about being in this era is that all information is available to you. You can post in forums and ask in-person psychologists, you can do research on virtual mental health counseling professionals and see testaments to their abilities. There are pros and cons but, if it suits you and you want the help you just need to begin the search.