Benefits of Distance Counselling
In an era where physical distance no longer restricts an individual’s ability to access services now offered via telephone and online, one wonders whether counselling services can also be provided in this manner and, if so, if they are as effective as counselling offered in-person and face-to-face.
Researchers have explored the suitability and effectiveness of distance counselling, and have found that outcomes of those who have undertaken counselling via video or telephone are similar to those who have conducted sessions face-to-face. So why would one choose one method of counselling over another? Well, there are many advantages that come with opting for distance counselling; these include:
- Accessibility and Flexibility: Distance counselling offers greater accessibility and flexibility to those who live in remote areas and to those who may have mobility issues.
- Convenience: Both the therapist and the client have the convenience of corresponding with one another at a variety of times. This may give the client the ability to engage in counselling at their own convenience in an environment that they already feel comfortable in.
- Reduce Discomfort of Perceived Social Stigma: For those who feel hesitant towards seeking counselling, distance counselling creates the ability to access counselling services in private without the need to visit a counselling centre.
- Emotional Safety: Not being seen by the counsellor may create a sense of safety for some individuals. Clients need no longer maintain a social mask and can, in fact, be themselves, which can promote a high degree of intimacy and honesty.
Despite these benefits, it is also important to keep in mind that distance counselling may not be suitable for everyone, including those who are in acute crisis, at risk of self-harm, or those who have a significant mental health concern.
If you feel like distance counselling is something that would work well for you, then I encourage you to further educate yourself on both the advantages and disadvantages of it prior to incorporating this form of therapy into your journey.
Backhaus, A., Agha, Z., Maglione, M. L., Repp, A., Ross, B., Zuest, D., … & Thorp, S. R. (2012). Videoconferencing psychotherapy: A systematic review. Psychological services, 9(2), 111.
Williams, T., & Douds, J. (2012). The unique contributions of telephone therapy. Crisis Intervention and Counselling By Telephone. Springfield, IL: Charles Thomas Publisher Ltd.
Farah Premji, MSc., offers distance counselling by telephone or online. For more information on Farah and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.