Virtual or online counseling has become very popular in recent years. This includes individual and couples therapy. Maybe the increase is in part due to the pandemic, but either way, online couples counseling can be quite convenient for many people.
If your relationship or marriage is struggling, you may want to consider seeing a couple’s therapist. This article will help you understand better how couple’s therapy works, pros and cons to meeting virtually, and questions you may want to ask potential therapists.
Online therapy is simply that: therapy between an individual and a therapist via a computer, tablet, or mobile phone.
There are different names for online therapy these days, including tele-counseling, tele-therapy, or e-therapy. Essentially, you meet with a therapist online through a video chat, or perhaps even e-mail or chat sessions. The time frame is usually the same as conventional sessions, about one hour.
During the session, the individual seeking therapy has the chance to discuss whatever issues they desire, and the therapist offers feedback and insight. It's really not much different than face to face therapy.
There are several pros of online couples counseling.
The first benefit is that you don't have to leave your house to receive counseling. This means you don't have to fight traffic or take time out of your day to travel to the therapist office. This may help alleviate stress or time constraints.
You can also meet with a counselor who is not local. Let's say you want to meet with an online therapist who is in a different state or country. You can easily do this with a virtual therapy session.
Sometimes online couples counseling can be cheaper than traditional face to face counseling.
There are various tele-counseling organizations that offer very affordable monthly rates. For example, BetterHelp allows individuals to pay a weekly fee between $60-$90 for one online therapy session, and they are billed monthly.
For many people, entering a therapy office can evoke anxious feelings. However, sitting at home in your living room to enter a virtual portal to see a therapist can feel far more comfortable.
For some people, online video counseling may not feel as personable as face-to-face therapy.
For others, this may work out better, especially if they struggle with social anxiety.
It may take a little bit of effort and time, but finding an online couple's counselor is actually fairly easy.
There are websites, such as Psychology Today, that offer therapy services finder right at their website. You simply type in the kind of therapist you’re looking for and a list of qualified professionals popup.
As you look through the therapist list and reach out, you may want to ask specific questions before agreeing to therapy.
The first question I would ask is, "How much experience do you have in counseling couples?"
You’d be surprised at how many therapists have little to no experience working with couples. Therefore, seek out someone who has specialized in couples counseling. They’ll be able to help you much better than someone who maybe only took one class in college on the topic.
Another question to ask is about the fees. Some online couples counseling agencies may not take insurance.
Their fees may be lower though, so be sure to ask about the cost of the sessions. If they do take insurance, be sure that they take your kind. You can always call your insurance company to double check and ask them about if they cover mental health services.
You can also ask the therapist about their counseling practices. What type of counseling do they do? Is it mostly talk therapy or do they go into other therapeutic modalities, such as trauma therapy or internal family systems therapy?
There are a wide range of therapies out there, so simply ask them what kind they do.
When you make your appointment with an online couples counselor, you may wonder what you should do before that first session.
You and your partner could have a conversation about what you'd like to discuss first or you can wait till you get into the appointment and let your counselor facilitate the first session.
You may want to write down a list of things you would like to discuss or questions that you have. It's quite normal to feel a little anxious about the first meeting. Usually after the second or third meeting everyone feels more comfortable.
If you and your partner have been struggling in your relationship, it's a good idea to have a conversation about couples counseling. Many relationships and marriages have been saved because couples have put the time and effort into counseling for a period of time.
At the very least, you could try several sessions to see how it goes.
Ideally, you'd probably need at least a few months of counseling to make some headway. Whether it's face to face or online couples therapy, there are certainly benefits to working through issues with a professional.