December 20, 2020
By Stephen LaRosa, Ph.D.
How Online Counseling Services Became Popular During Q4 of 2020: The emergence of the digital world paved the way for several activities to be done online.
For instance, in the past, people used to visit physical stores to shop for groceries or any other retail product. Now, people can conveniently order what they need through online shops and have the products they have ordered online delivered right in front of their doorsteps.
There has also been a rise in online universities allowing students to get a degree even without having to set foot in a physical classroom. Alongside this, the digital world also made it possible for various freelancers and professionals, including counselors, to work remotely. In the case of the latter, there are now various telehealth consulting services that aim to provide people with the medical attention they need physically or mentally. This article delves into how digital counseling services became popular during the last quarter of this year.
One of the primary reasons behind the sudden massive shift to online services is the occurrence of the global pandemic which required people to stay at home. The novel virus that claimed the lives of millions of people can easily spread through social contact because it can be transmitted through the aerosol droplets that people secrete even just as they speak. To mitigate further contagion, the governments of various countries all over the globe implemented social distancing and stay-at-home measures. In line with the latter, schools were suspended and enterprises were required to implement work from home practices.
In the beginning, this new setup was deemed temporary. However, months passed and the development of a vaccine to address the virus is still far from reach. Thus, people are still encouraged to stay home. For many, this new normal started to take a toll on their mental health. Fortunately, medical services, including counseling, were already made available online. This paved the popularity of online counseling in the last quarter of this year. People who are experiencing various mental health issues already began to explore online sources to help them cope with their condition.
With the demand for online therapy services, more and more providers ventured out into creating web services and mobile apps to reach the people who need their expertise. As a result, there are now several web or mobile apps for you to choose from in case you need therapy or simply chat with a counselor. All you need is a stable and reliable internet connection and you are good to go with your sessions.
Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Online Therapy Sessions
To make the most out of your online therapy sessions, the tips below will prove to be beneficial.
Adhere to a Specific Schedule
One of the primary things that you can do to make the most out of your online therapy session is to adhere to a specific schedule. While it is true that you can do it anytime or anywhere you wish, there is a greater chance for you to reap better benefits if you conduct the session at a specific time of the day. The reason behind this is that with an intentional schedule for an online therapy session, your mind is already conditioned to focus and concentrate.
Create a Safe Space
When you physically interact with a counselor in a clinic, the first thing that you may notice is that the ambiance of their clinic is designed to be encouraging or inviting. This is for them to help people better express themselves without any distractions. In this case, it will also be beneficial for you to create a safe space free from distractions, where you will be able to conduct the session intently. For instance, you can wear your headphones as necessary or conduct the session in a closed room, depending on your preferences.
Another thing that you can do to maximize the benefits of an online therapy session is to be flexible when it comes to the format of your therapy. Keep in mind that some online therapy services only leverage audio format, while others include messaging and video. Some implement a traditional webcam session. What you need to do is to explore the formats that work well for you, regardless of whether it is purely in messaging or a combination of text and video formats.
Take Advantage of the Uniqueness of Online Therapy
There are certain things that you can do online, which you may not be able to do so in an in-person session. For instance, when you visit your therapist, pets may not be allowed in the clinic. However, when you delve into an online therapy session, you can have your cat sitting on your lap or your dog by your side throughout the time that you are talking with your therapist. The comfort that you get from your pets is possible when you conduct the sessions at home. In this case, your pets may contribute to your healing.
Indulge in the Silly
Getting into an online therapy session may prove to be awkward at first but this is one of the things that you need to expect. Thus, don’t be alarmed if you feel like you are not instantly jiving with your therapist during the first couple of sessions. In this case, you can explore different formats to conduct the therapy and assess which proves to be the most successful. Also practice explicitly naming your emotions, no matter how silly, to make it a bit easier for your therapist to understand you, particularly in the absence of bodily cues.
If you are experiencing mental health problems or if you need therapy to address certain aspects of your life, then try to explore online therapy sessions. As long as proper care is given, these sessions will prove to be beneficial for you in terms of helping you cope with your condition, particularly in this time of the pandemic wherein mostly everyone remains isolated. Rest assured that there will come a time when humankind will be able to rise above this challenge that has plagued the world immensely in various ways.