Online consultation psychologist: how does it work?

by Anna Kazakova
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The modern rhythm of life affects everyone. Every day we experience stress, which tends to accumulate and grow inside us.

Many people keep quiet about it and think they can handle the problem themselves, but this is fundamentally wrong. Not everything can be solved by yourself, not everything can be solved by sitting down with friends or girlfriends. Sometimes you can't do without the help of a specialist.

However, not everyone has the opportunity to visit a psychologist in person. For example, there is no time to get out of the house. Today this is no longer a problem.

Modern technology has made it possible for mankind to receive professional help right from home. Many psychologists now conduct their appointments online.

Such a consultation will be no less effective than a face-to-face session in an office. 

What is an online counseling psychologist?

To begin with, we need to define the difference between online counseling and online psychotherapy. In both cases we are talking about a meeting with a psychologist, albeit not face-to-face.

However, online therapy is impossible without a systematic approach to getting rid of the client's problems or any difficulties, such as emotional, personal or social.

This assumes close cooperation and contact between the psychologist and the client. On the average, at least 10 meetings are required for therapy.

As for the online consultation, unlike therapy, it involves 1-3 meetings with a specialist, during which the problem is identified and ways to solve it are developed.

In other words, the difference lies in the depth of working through the situation, as well as in the intensity and duration of the work on the predicament.

The main difference between online consultation and face-to-face consultation is the method by which the psychologist communicates with the client.

The following remedies can be used today:

  1. Skype.
  2. Various messengers, such as WhatsApp, Viber, etc.
  3.  FaceTime and others. 

In order to conduct a video consultation, you must:

  1. Webcam.
  2. A room in which the person will be able to have privacy at the time of the meeting with the psychologist. That is, other people should not disturb him or her. There should be no children coming through the door shouting that they want to eat or play, a spouse, co-workers, etc. All factors that could interfere with the counseling should be eliminated or isolated in advance.

If the communication is done in writing, it is enough to have a device that can transfer data, for example, a tablet, PC or laptop, smartphone, etc., as well as access to the network.

The main advantages of consulting a psychologist online

There are several of them:

  1. Both the first session and all other sessions will be conducted in a comfortable environment for the client. He or she will not have to get used to the new place, which means that it will be easier to relax and trust the psychologist than it might have been during a face-to-face meeting.
  2. Saving time to travel to and from the psychological center (office). In addition, the meeting can be held regardless of weather conditions.
  3. Schedule flexibility. Online meetings are much easier to coordinate with a specialist than face-to-face meetings.
  4. Lower cost of admission. This is due to the fact that the psychologist does not need to rent an office or building for his activity. At the same time, the client does not have to pay for travel there and back.
  5. Timeliness of professional help when you need it badly. It is often much easier to get to an online meeting than a face-to-face consultation. 

In what situations is online counseling a necessity?

People usually seek help from a psychologist for a number of reasons:

  1. A person's schedule is too busy and they can't spare a few hours for a face-to-face session.
  2. The client lives in another country where there are either no Russian-speaking specialists or it is impossible to get to them.
  3. A person lives in a small town where it is impossible to find a qualified specialist who meets a number of criteria. 
  4. Young mothers with small children are one of the categories of clients who cannot visit a psychologist in person for the reason that they cannot leave (or have no one to leave) their child for a couple of hours.
  5. People are not always ready for face-to-face meetings. There is a category of people who do not manage to relax in a face-to-face session. It is much easier for such people to be in front of a screen or communicate with a psychologist in writing.
  6. There is a category of clients whose ability to move is limited.
  7. Some people do not need long-term therapy, but need a one-time (or 1-3) meeting with a psychologist to resolve a problem that is tormenting them.
  8. At times, a person wants to remain anonymous. Online consultation and therapy make this possible. You just need to indicate a pseudonym and the desired method of communication with the psychologist (video call, chatting via messenger, etc.).

Types of online consultations psychologist

Modern technology gives us the opportunity to communicate with psychologists in a variety of ways, among them:

  1. Video Link.
  2. Calls.
  3. Communication in messengers.
  4. Chat on the psychologist's personal website.
  5. E-mail correspondence. 

Of course, the latter method can hardly be called effective. If you want to communicate in writing, it is better, of course, to build communication through chats and messengers. 

Let's consider each method in more detail.

Video consultation. Today, this is one of the most popular ways to conduct meetings. Such consultation implies direct contact between the client and the psychologist.

The specialist will be able to see the person's emotions, facial expressions and movements. In other words, everything that will additionally help to understand what the client is feeling. 

Calling a specialist. It is possible to communicate with a psychologist by making a call. You can say that it is an intermediate format between video chat and correspondence.

In this way, the client gradually opens up his or her boundaries to the psychologist.

Chatting. Some people find it much easier to start just by chatting.

There are many reasons for this: difficulties with personal communication, the ease of expressing thoughts in written form, shyness, irregular working hours, inability to find a private room for consultation, etc. Of course, the specialist, as well as the client himself, will find it more difficult to get a feel for each other.

But this tool will enable you to overcome certain barriers that arise at the beginning of therapy. 

E-Mail correspondence. Today it is the rarest type of consultation. And not the most convenient. In order to build an effective session, you will need to compose several meaningful emails. 

How is the online consultation conducted?

Before the consultation, the psychologist coordinates the time and date with the client. At the same time, the desired format of communication is chosen.

The duration of the session is 50-60 minutes. In the case of a connection failure, time is added to restore the connection. 

The experience of psychologists shows that the effectiveness of conducting online psychotherapy is not inferior to the effectiveness of face-to-face meetings.

On the contrary, many people now choose this format because of its convenience and pleasant price. 

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