8 Pros & 5 Cons of Virtual Counseling - and How You Can Benefit

By Dominica

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Last Updated: September 6, 2021

Meeting face-to-face has changed dramatically since COVID first came onto the scene in 2020. Less people meet in public, and that includes those seeing professional counselors. 

However, video chats give many more people the opportunity to get their counseling needs met even when they have to be quarantined or practicing social distance. 

Online video counseling allows clients to receive therapy in a way that is convenient and comfortable for them. This has been one of the biggest draws to this mental health method.

There are many reasons that you should consider using online counseling to address any emotional or mental health concerns you may have. 

However, keep in mind that just like with anything else, this type of treatment has its pros and cons. Keep reading to find out more, so that you can make a well-informed decision as to whether video counseling would be beneficial to you. 

8 Powerful Pros of Video Counseling

There are several pros to video counseling. Below you will find the top advantages that have been cited by clients who have used this method of therapy.

1. Video counseling is flexible.

For someone who has an extremely busy schedule, video counseling can provide the flexibility that is needed to get the help they need. There are many counselors who work with clients online after regular office hours.

This makes it easy for clients who are not able to free up their schedules during the daytime hours. It is also a good option for people with kids but no babysitter.

2. Online services save you the commute - and gas money. 

It is much easier to switch on your computer than it is to commute to an office. The money you save on gas can help pay for your therapy! Some clients say that worrying about the commute takes away from any insights that they get in their therapy sessions. 

3. Online therapy in your own home may be more comfortable.

Getting counseled in your own home puts you more at ease. It is less formal than an office setting, and this allows for you to open up easier in a place that you already feel safe and comfortable.

4. You don't have to see anyone in the waiting room or stress about how to get there.

There are many people that feel shame about needing therapy and this stops them from going to a counseling office. With video counseling this is not an issue.

There are also people who do not have a way to an office, are not able to leave their home due to medical conditions, or are unwilling to leave their home because of their mental illness/disorder. For these clients, video counseling is a complete saving grace.

5. Times and locations are more available.

There are no time constraints, and you can find a therapist in a different city or country for that matter.  

6. It may be more comfortable for people with social anxiety.

Those with social anxiety benefit from meeting online with a counselor, as it tends to cause them less anxiety. 

7. You don't have to make a huge trek or deal with traffic.

Those that live in remote areas and don’t have the means to drive to therapy benefit from video counseling. Also, those that simply don’t care to drive in busy traffic or longer distances benefit. 

8. Online therapy can be more affordable.

Video counseling is oftentimes cheaper than in-person counseling. Some therapists offer a sliding-fee scale, which can bring the cost down too. There are other therapists who work through online counseling companies, such as Better Help. These companies offer low-cost fees to clients. 

Read this next: 20 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid and Ashamed to Consult a Therapist

The Cons of Video Counseling

Even though video counseling is a great thing for some people, it is not something that is for everyone. Here are some cons to this counseling method:

1. Your insurance provider may not cover the cost.

One of the biggest cons of video therapy is that many insurance companies will not pay for it. This can mean costly treatment, even with a sliding fee scale.

2. It may seem less confidential.

Confidentially is important in the mental health field. With a face-to-face session online, some people fear that somehow the sessions could be recorded.  They are concerned about privacy and may be hesitant to fully share with the counselor. 

3. Your call may be dropped or interrupted.

Technology is not always the most reliable thing in the world. Your computer, wireless signal, or chat app can go down at any time. These devices do not care if you are in the middle of a counseling breakthrough. 

4. It's harder to read people when you aren't together.

Counselors in traditional settings are able to better read clients’ body language and overall demeaner. Sitting with someone in person gives you a better feel for their mental or emotional health than looking at them on the video screen.

5. Sometimes, you really need to go in person.

There are certain issues that are not ideal for video counseling. Those who have serious mental health issues should not be getting counseling in an online capacity. Those who need to be prescribed anti-depressants or anti-psychotic drugs will need to see a psychiatrist in person for an assessment.

Is Video Counseling Right For You?

Many people reach out for help from a counselor at one time or another throughout their life journey.  During times of crisis, such as a breakup or divorce, death of a loved one, job loss, etc., the support of someone who knows how to hold space to help you heal and grow can be invaluable.

You certainly don’t have to struggle through issues alone, especially when there are so many highly qualified therapists offering services online these days. 

Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It's about how you drive, not where you're going. - HealthyPlace.com

Now that you know the main pros and cons of video counseling, you can decide if it is the right thing for you. Many participants are quite pleased with the results and the ease of the process.

Personally, I’ve had in-person and video counselors and I benefitted from both types of counseling.  As I mentioned though, if you’re struggling with severe mental health issues and think you may need a prescription, you will have to see a psychiatrist face-to-face.

I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you are still unsure what choice to make, try talking it over with a traditional counselor and a video counselor. This may help you in your choice. Or, try both types of counseling to see what you prefer, as many counselors offer both types.

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

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One comment on “8 Pros & 5 Cons of Virtual Counseling - and How You Can Benefit”

  1. thank you good to create awareness of mental health modes of therapy.

    a minor/major improvement suggestion i.e. variety of professionals involved in mental health not limited to psychiatrist and counselors.for instance psychologist;social workers. proactive first defense include books,etc. family or termed social support

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