The main advantage of online counselling compared to in a private practice is that you can use it when and where you want. All you need is a quiet place and a good internet connection.
There are no long waiting lists and no long drives to a practice. Online counselling can usually start within a few days of your first enquiry. You will receive the help you need when you actually need it and don’t have to wait a couple of weeks or months for an open spot. Online counselling can also take place outside of the usual office hours, in the evening or on the weekends. Online counselling is more flexible and will adapt itself to your time schedule.
Online Counselling is also ideal for people with high time restraints, travelling a lot for work or living abroad and far away from a psychologist or psychotherapist. We live in a time and society that requires a high flexibility and mobility from us. Your online psychologist will keep being there for you even if you move to the other side of the country or world.
If you are a somewhat anxious person and are not sure if you could bring yourself to actually go to a private practice, than talking to a psychologist online might be the right choice for you. You can contact your psychologist from the safety of your own home. You don’t have to risk anyone seeing you on the way to the practice. The Counselling will remain as anonymous or “secret” as you want it to be.
Of course online counselling also has a few disadvantages. Online counselling does not fit all kind of problems. Especially intense and acute psychological crisis and mental disorders require a treatment by a psychotherapist in a practice and in person. In Germany, online counselling is not covered by the health insurance (as opposed to in person treatment). And even if more and more communication takes place online and “skyping” has become part of many peoples daily life, this is of course not the case for everyone. For people not too familiar with online technologies and for those who want the more personal contact of a face to face treatment, a therapy in a private practice will be the better option. Finally, technical difficulties such as power cuts or cuts in the internet connection can occur during online counselling.
Pros and Cons of Online Counselling
- flexibel in terms of time schedule: Online Counselling can usually take place on short notice and outside of opening hours of a practice
- flexibel in terms of location: Online Counselling takes place where you want / where you feel safe
- no long waiting periods
- no long drives to the practice
- anonymous & discret
- (In Germany) not covered by health insurance
- less direct contact to your psychologist, communication online happens online (Email/Video)
- technical problems can complicate online counselling
- not suited for intense and acute psychological crisis
- can not replace a psychotherapy