ONLINE PSYCHOTHERAPY & COUNSELING: Convenient, Effective and Affordable
Posted Feb 10 2010 2:09pm
Mindfulness-based Online Therapyhas gained tremendous popularity over the past few years. It provides the tools you need to manage depression, anxiety and emotional stress in the comfort of your own home and it is much more affordable. And, of course mindfulness is becoming the preferred awareness tool for creating the right inner environment in which transformation and healing take place.
The convenience of Online Mindfulness Therapy is one of the most cited reasons why more and more people are turning to this first. All you need is a laptop with Skype installed (free download) and you are ready to start. Many people would like the opportunity of working on resolving their emotional problems, depression, anxiety, stress or past trauma but simply do not have the time to commute to and from a therapist’s office. Online Mindfulness Therapy allows me to work with clients from all over America, as well as helping clients in Europe, Australia, South Africa and beyond. We correspond through email to work out a convenient time and then connect through Skype to begin a session. It is amazingly simple, and what is more amazing is that the Skype video-call service is free. Payment for sessions is also easy to make online through PayPal, which is very secure.
Besides the convenience, Online Therapyis typically much less intimidating than going to a therapist’s office and sitting in a waiting room. It is important that the client feels comfortable and in control, and Online Therapy, which in many ways is a form of Life Coaching, is as natural as going to the local Recreation Center for a good workout. The client controls the whole process and this is empowering, which is important for the transformational process. Conducting a therapy/coaching session in the familiar environment of one’s home or office is also more conducive and helps the client get in touch with his or her feelings, which is of course essential for good therapy.
Most online sessions are a combination of counselling and therapy. As a mindfulness-based therapist, I alternate between being a teacher, coach and counsellor, providing advice and instruction on the application of mindfulness for resolving difficult emotions at the core level. That is one aspect of the work of online therapy. The other involves experiential work with the client, helping him or her get in touch with core emotions to facilitate their resolution through mindfulness-based techniques. This approach works particularly well in Skype video sessions because clients feel so much more at ease in the comfort of their own home.
Another characteristic of online therapy is that clients are invited to email me in-between sessions if they have any questions about the homework assignments they have been given. In this way the therapeutic process has continuity, which can be lacking in more traditional approaches, and the client feels that they have a friend and coach to turn to when the need arises.
Feeling comfortable with the therapist/coach/teacher is essential and in my Online Mindfulness Therapysessions, I take great efforts to answer my client’s questions either during a session or through email. It is my policy that each session should bring some tangible improvement for the client and that he or she should feel good about each session. That after all is the key factor that you should use to decide if any therapist, online or in-person, is right for you. What matters is that you feel that you have benefited from each individual session. Most clients who come to me notice significant improvements within 4-5 sessions, not 4-5 years as in some forms of conventional talking therapy.
Online Therapyis becoming more widely accepted as a valuable adjunct to traditional in-person psychotherapy and there have been several controlled studies that support its efficacy. The focus of online therapy/coaching is on teaching clients the skills and tools that help them break free from the grip of depression and anxiety or other difficult emotions, and we can all benefit from that. It may not be the first choice for those with a clinical condition, but most of us do not have a mental disease; we just need someone to talk to who understands and can teach some practical tools for handling the stresses of life and the emotional challenges inherent in a marriage or other personal relationship. In fact, the demand for good quality counseling and therapy, including the very popular mindfulness-based psychotherapy, far outstrips the availability of quality providers, which is yet another reason why you should seriously consider online counseling as an option.
Finally there is the issue of cost. Generally, due to lower overheads, online therapy is considerably less expensive than traditional therapy sessions. Typically, sessions cost somewhere between $70-$120 / hour, which is very good value. The only down side is that few insurance companies will cover online therapy, as it is still relatively new and the Establishment takes time to embrace innovations.
Most online counselors will demand pre-payment for a session, but I prefer to accept payment after a session. That way, no charge is incurred if a client feels that the service is not right for them. It’s another good way of getting to that all-important comfort level where the client feels that this is indeed the right choice for them, which it is for the growing number of people who want to learn better skills for managing their emotions through online coaching sessions.