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The Benefits of Virtual Counseling

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In today’s world of modern technology, busy schedules, limited mobility and sometimes limited income can make it challenging to find the time or financial resources to attend a counseling session in an office. Working on the western slope of Colorado, I understand first hand as a counselor how difficult it can be for someone to seek help for mental health issues. When you live in a small town 3 or more hours away from the nearest mental health hub, it just doesn't seem feasible! So is it possible to still get help, you may be asking yourselves? The answer is yes! With the wonderful innovations in technology today, a counselor could be at the tip of your finger with the push of a button. We’re talking virtual counseling that you can do at home from your couch as the counseling office of the future.

As far back as 2002, the APA (American Psychological Association) has demonstrated that telephone therapy can be very effective for patients. Here are the results of a study hosted on their website: The important takeaway is that patients showed a marked improvement in the area focused on during telephone counseling sessions.

So what does that really mean for you? Since 2002 there have been AMAZING improvements in the telecommunications arena like Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and FaceTime. Each one of these technologies is a great advancement from telephone-based therapy for one big reason. They add the dimension of being able to see each other. This helps us – as patient and counselor – to connect better, have greater empathy and connection because we can see body language and facial expressions, something that is lost on the telephone.

That being said, the ability to connect online is still better than nothing. These advancements, including the advancement of chat related technologies, mean that services like on-demand chat therapy subscriptions can exist. Though I recommend full video face-to-face communications, having the ability to reach out for help in any capacity is better than nothing at all. Even chat therapy has proven effective in treating patients who live in rural areas, or in areas where it is difficult to come to a therapist’s office.

The biggest benefit here is a safe approach. Virtual Counseling can be done from the comfort of your own home, or hotel room, or any place where you can access the Internet. Obviously, if you utilize a service like Virtual Counseling in a public place like a coffee shop you are losing some of those benefits of privacy, but you are in turn gaining the advantages of accessibility. The costs of virtual therapy are often much lower than traditional in-office visits because of reductions to your schedule including travel time and costs. So what are you waiting for? At Identity you can schedule an in person visit or virtual counseling visit today! Simply visit my consultation page to get started!

Devin Pinkston is a local mental health counselor and Gender Therapist in Grand Junction Colorado. Call to schedule a free consultation today at 970-644-2392.

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