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Imagine pouring yourself a cup of coffee (or tea), putting on relaxing music, and settling into your favorite chair. You put your feet up, open the laptop (ipad, iphone), and click on a link connecting you to a therapist. Within seconds, your face-to-face counseling session, via videoconferencing, begins.
Online therapy is easy and convenient. Sessions are possible whether you are at home, camping in Yellowstone, or skiing in Aspen. Flexibility is a key reason why many clients prefer seeing a therapist on screen. Setting up regular sessions is optional. People can also log in without an appointment and find counselors waiting to help.
For people who live in rural areas and small towns, online counseling is a handy way to access therapy services. No more traveling for miles to get help, or having no services available at all. The neighbors won't see you walking into a counselor's office, either.
If you are employed and have a busy or unpredictable schedule, online counseling is flexible enough to meet your needs. Should you have a disability or be otherwise homebound, Internet services provide treatment from the safety of your residence.
Counseling service via the web is also a boon to people with high anxiety about leaving home, or about visiting a therapist's office. If this is true for you, the help you need can be accessed on the web, without aggravating your symptoms.
Online therapy is generally more affordable than in-person counseling. Therapists working exclusively online require no office outside their home, saving them the expense of transportation and leasing office space. You will want to check with your insurance company to see whether they reimburse for online therapy.
Sigmund Freud wrote letters to some of his patients. Therapy work has been, and is, conducted via the telephone. More recently, counselors and clients have communicated by email and in chat rooms. Text and audio chatting have been used successfully for a while. Videoconferencing is the next natural offshoot of the psychology and technology mix.
As with in-person therapy, client confidentiality is of prime importance online. Your personal information, and what you share with a counselor, is governed by the same laws and ethical standards as in-person therapy.
If you are still not sure an online therapist is right for you, remember, the first 5 minutes is free. You can try it with nothing to lose. Many people like the security of carrying a therapist around with them, just in case. Check it out for yourself.
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