• Dr. Jeff Mandelkorn, PhD

Reflections on the Benefits of Online Counseling

The COVID-19 pandemic created a lot of uncertainty and fear, upending the lives of so many people. Meetings, classes, family gatherings, court proceedings, and medical appointments have all taken on some form of telecommunication.

Therapy is no different, and the numbers of individuals seeking therapy through some means of telehealth continues to rise. And why not? The demand for therapy remains very high, and bridging the gap between client and therapist is ultimately a good thing.

Similar to other fields using telecommunication, teletherapy (also known as online therapy, online counseling, telehealth, and virtual counseling) has its pros and cons. As a licensed psychologist, I work with clients in both in-person and online therapy formats with a secure HIPAA compliant platform.

After nearly two years of incorporating teletherapy into my practice, I’d like to share some of my impressions on the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about whether in person or online counseling is for you.

Convenience and accessibility

The use of technology has brought therapy to our literal fingertips. A smartphone is now the doorway to a confidential session with a licensed therapist or psychologist. Online therapy from your phone, ipad, or computer completely eliminates the commute time spent going to and from a physical office and the headache of dealing with unexpected traffic on the way. Finding the time to dedicate to therapy is a common concern for many, and eliminating (or reducing) travel time might make someone more willing to pursue therapy.

Similar to convenience, technology has made mental health care more accessible, especially in situations where geography is a limiting factor. Online counseling is a viable option for someone requiring a specific kind of expertise that is not available locally. Having more options and better access to these experts reduces barriers to receiving care and creates more successful therapeutic outcomes.

Connectedness and technology challenges