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Online Counseling - It's What's For Dinner

Aug 15, 2008
The research is clear, in America 1 in 10 people are in need of mental health services at any given time. Most online counseling issues are common stresses in life, but for some the struggle is more serious as in chronic depression or marital struggles. But not everyone is ready for counseling and go it on their own, often for far too long.

Many individuals don't realize they need help until a loved one points it out to them. Others are simply embarrassed to admit they need online counseling. It is interesting to note that a majority of clients who seek online counseling enter into their first counseling experience. Online counseling can take the form exchanging email, IM chats or phone counseling. Video conferencing interestingly isn't requested very often. It seems people really enjoy the anonymity of online counseling.

In some ways online counseling is better than face-to-face counseling. It offers a high degree of privacy. No one has to know you're doing it. You do not have to make big schedule changes to travel to and from appointments. And you still receive the wisdom and training of a professional counselor.

This is especially good in cases when your problem might embarrass you and you prefer the anonymity that a web based or online counseling offers. And since you undertake online counseling from the convenience of your home, there is less stress from travel, traffic, meetings and time wasted.

When you use online counseling you are accessing the same level of expertise as if you were sitting with a professional. One cautionary statement - always make sure the counselor you are considering working with has a credentials check available as a link off their site. Each of the states in the US have a licensing body. Make sure your counselor is certified to help you and don't fear picking up the phone or emailing and asking questions as you need to.

To balance things out, you need to know that online counseling has its drawbacks as well. Much of communication is non-verbal and therefore the counselor may be at a disadvantage when they cannot follow your body language. Other times, when the need of the client grows stronger than what an online counselor can deal with, a therapist may not be familiar with local resources to refer you to.

Your trust is the most important thing an online counselor can protect. It's okay to ask him or her how they protect your confidentiality online. I've seen well-meaning therapists interact with their online counseling clients in a forum after a phone session. Unless that forum is secure, this could accidentally result in your privacy being violated. On the othe hand, don't be offended if you invite your counselor to join your Facebook account and they don't respond. They're simply protecting you. It's part of their job.

As long as you do your due diligence, you will find online counseling to be a gift for your particular needs. Those who have sought online counseling report great results and would choose to go into online counseling again if they needed it.
About the Author
Author and Online Counseling Pioneer Dave Turo-Shields. Go with 10-years online counseling experience. Learn more at: http://www.CounselingPros.com
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