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Pros and Cons of Counseling Online

Almost two decades ago, there was a movie called Twister which starred Helen Hunt. Basically it was about tornadoes and the lives of the tornado chasers and weather scientists. But one of the sources of humor was the character of the protagonist’s fiancée who was a therapist. And while their car was in the middle of a tornado, she was counseling a client on the phone about the client’s sex problems. It was hilarious.

Today, counseling has gone beyond the couch. It is now an accepted practice to conduct sessions through the phone. And of course, using the internet has become a fad.

Yes, I am a firm believer in using modern technology in the healing process. The evolution of the internet makes it easier to access counseling online, where health professionals can help people get through with their difficult day to day experiences by means of email, real time chat and video conferencing. These are some of the main reasons why I encourage it:

1. It is conveniently accessible to people who live a busy life with no time to go to a counselor’s office. There are some people who seek professional help but simply don’t have the time to visit the office. That is why they can utilize their break time and downtime in the office to go through online counseling.

2. It is also a good option for people who are shy or who are easily intimidated by face to face counseling.

3. Likewise on line therapy provides mental help to people in rural or remote areas as well as individuals who are disabled or homebound.

But there are limitations to this approach that only face to face counseling can offer. E-therapy is not applicable to those people who have serious psychiatric illness and those people who have complicated problems because it fails to see essential verbal and visual signs needed to treat them. Since it lacks physical presence, online therapist fails to directly respond to clients who need to be comforted with their emotional crisis. Additionally, a simple breakdown of equipment and internet services can cause a hindrance to an online counseling.