It was a discussion during the 2015 Chicago Online Counseling Summit – is online counseling beneficial and effective?
The development of online counseling wasn’t documented as such since the service just sprung out and evolved to what it is today. Not all people know that the internet was live during the seventies and as for online counseling, a version of it was founded by a program called “Ask Uncle Ezra.” This was created by members coming from Cornell University as a service for their students back in the eighties; 1986 to be exact.
After that, several online sites were advertising their counseling services geared for those with mental health issues. It was so rampant in the mid-1990 – both paid counseling and those with no fees. Some good-hearted people offered their “communication, a listening ear, empathy, and sympathy” for free. For experts, they charge by the minute.
Today, there are thousands of online counseling sites and clinics all around the world. People can’t always go to the offices of therapists for their sessions since their life is full. They are busy with work, with family life, and with other things. Online counseling offers therapy in a very convenient manner.
Why Is Online Counseling Beneficial?
Traditional counseling is the best when it comes to one-on-one and group therapy – there is no doubt about that, but not all people can go to a therapist’s office and have their sessions there every single time. This is the hard truth. For this reason, online counseling was introduced. It may not provide the service of a traditional therapy session at 100%, but it is almost there when it comes to helping and mental health assistance.
Some of the benefits of online counseling include cheaper rates (sometimes free), rural areas are reached because the service is offered through the internet and by mobile phone, convenient, and it is available 24/7. Any person in the world can contact a therapist anytime and anywhere.
Is Online Counseling Effective?
Suler and his group of researchers have discussed in their study titled “Online Counselling: Beyond the Pros and Cons” about the effectiveness of online counseling. They explained that people with severe issues like suicide are best dealt with by the traditional counseling method. But those with mild to moderate concerns, online counseling is proven to be beneficial and efficient.