The terms online therapy and online counseling encompass a variety of ways that a skilled mental health professional can help people effectively over the Internet without ever meeting them face to face.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, most people have become familiar with Zoom as a way to stay in contact with the people in their lives and keep appointments with health providers and helping professionals. We don't have to be in the same place or even in the same time zone, but otherwise, it's a lot like face-to-face therapy in an office setting. We take our cues from each other's appearance and facial expression at any given time.
I see most clients in a secure, password protected chat room on my online therapy website. The chat room can also accommodate a couple or a group. The chat is scheduled in realtime in advance, just like a session in a therapist's office. But there are several differences.
If we choose to work by email rather than in the chat room, we don't even have to coordinate our schedules to match.
Scheduling is flexible. Some clients meet with me once a week at the same time every week, others don't, depending on their needs.
We don't see each other. This gives clients more control over how they choose to present themselves.
We express our feelings not through visual cues but with the techniques that texting and the Internet have developed to replace them. We can also intuit a lot from silences and word choices in the chat room. And if we aren't sure, we can ask.
If you can't sit at a computer or don't have access to one, you can have a session by texting on your smartphone.
The phone may be right for you if you feel most comfortable expressing yourself aloud without being seen. This is something we can talk about. Phone sessions are scheduled in advance. Besides the session fee, you must pay all charges for the call.