There is a stigma attached to mental health issues. If one has a physical problem, in most cases the person would not hesitate in discussing it with friends and family. Overcoming physical health problems is seen as an achievement, however if one even mentions having a mental health issue, they are always treated differently, and labelled under terms such as “abnormal,” or “special.”
There are still attitudes within most societies that view symptoms of psychopathology as threatening and uncomfortable, and these attitudes frequently foster stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems. Such reactions are common when people are brave enough to admit they have a mental health problem, and they can often lead on to various forms of exclusion or discrimination – either within social circles or within the workplace.
People with mental health problems say that the social stigma attached to mental ill health and the discrimination they experience can make their difficulties worse and make it harder to recover.
Online counselling may also be effective in eliminating social stigma associated with receiving therapy. For those who are uncomfortable with receiving therapy, online counselling allows access to such services in private without having to visit the counselling center. Counselling can take on a whole different image when executed by the client in their own home through the computer. It may also allow the client to feel less stigmatized without having to be seen by; others in the waiting room, the administrative staff or any other person who just happens to be walking past at the time the client walks through the door.
Mental illness is common. It affects thousands of people, and their friends, families, work colleagues and society in general. According to research one in four people experience mental health problems at some point or the other in their lives. One in ten children experience mental health problems.
Because of this, online counselling clearly does offer the client a degree of anonymity that may reduce such social stigma and therefore prompt them to seek assistance when they might otherwise have hesitated.
Online therapy allows one the convenience of interacting with their therapist based on theirs and their therapist’s comfort. Both the therapist and the client have the convenience of corresponding with each other at a range of variant times. This style of therapy can take away the hassle of scheduling and setting appointments more common in traditional settings. You can schedule appointments based on when you are most at ease to have a session, and these sessions can be done in a place where you are most comfortable, like your bedroom.
For those individuals who are ambivalent about therapy or who may be uncomfortable with traditional models of therapy, may find online counselling more suitable whereby it has been found that online therapy is preferred by those who are uncomfortable with talking face to face with someone about their problems or who are suffering from social phobias, agoraphobias or anxiety disorders.
There may be greater flexibility and options in appointments. This means that you may be able to focus more fully on the counselling process due to it being at a time and place that suits you.
Online counselling is easily accessible to all those who wish to use it. Online therapy overcomes barriers that may preclude others from seeking therapy. For example, individuals residing in rural or remote areas where there are no counselling services can benefit from the accessibility of online counselling.
Those that are physically disabled or unable to leave their home can also easily access such services with little inconvenience. Those that have visual and hearing impairments can also benefit from such services.
It offers increased access to services from rural and remote locations or to people who are unable to leave their homes or travel to an office. Also very convenient for people who travel extensively, as it can be accessed from anywhere you happen to be.
Many people feel reluctant to visit a local counselor or psychologist out of a fear of “what other people may think.” Fortunately, online counseling offers apprehensive clients more complete anonymity, and so this can also decrease barriers to effective health services.
As online counseling does not involve face to face contact, it allows the clients to communicate more openly without any concerns for bias of race, gender, age, size or physical appearance. Thus, there is an increased chance for the client to be honest, and therefore higher validity in the case of self-disclosure. This type of counseling allows a level of anonymity because of the therapist being invisible and non-threatening to the client.
Online counseling is done via internet. Thus, it is more economical and affordable for both the therapist and the client. Many a times a therapist may not afford to rent commercial space or may not be willing to do so. In such cases, online counseling lowers the overhead costs of investing in capital and property. It also reduces commuting and other administration procedures when compared to traditional counseling services.
Online counselling has also been shown to be more economical. Counselling can take place from the comfort of the client’s own home or office hence saving on transport costs. For more many, the time saved on travelling is also worth its weight in gold.
It is less costly than face-to-face counselling. As one would deduct travel costs, child-care costs, and taking time off from work can generally be avoided.