It’s no question why remote counselling sessions and virtual therapy platforms have seen huge growth during a mentally crippling and socially distant pandemic. The real question is, is it comparable with the in-person couch sessions that clients have become all too familiar with? Well, for starters, it shatters the potential barriers that one might face with in-person sessions.
At the beginning of the pandemic, people seeking help may have been put off by the thought of divulging their personal information over the internet. That fear is now overshadowed by the need and the benefits of online counselling. The accessibility that virtual counselling offers is unparalleled and the quality of service remains. At this point in the pandemic, online therapy has been refined, normalized, and even preferred to in-person chats by some.
The outdated method of getting prescribed help from a person on the other end of a 1-800 number isn’t always the most helpful, or organic route. Virtual therapy platforms, like Inkblot Therapy, are putting what clients need first by making their services comfortable, inclusive, affordable, and personal.
“[If you’re hesitant to get started] it’s extremely normal. If you’re thinking about it, it probably means you should talk to someone…it’s a lot less scary once you’re on the other side of it…it’s just the fear of what’s going to happen when you’re in there. It’s not bad. You work through some things and sometimes it’s difficult, but I can assure you… if you go through it and you find the right counselor, you’ll feel better,” said Luke Vigeant, CEO of Inkblot Therapy.
When you reach out to a virtual therapy platform like Inkblot, Hasu e-counselling, or Wellin5, you’ll have the opportunity to choose your counsellor. You may be asked to complete a survey, and from there choose the counsellor that you think is a good fit for your needs. You’re free to keep searching until you find a match you like if the first one doesn’t work out. Unlike in-person counselling, your options expand far beyond your immediate regions.
“The idea that the person that’s most likely able to help you happens to be the therapist within five minutes of your home is a flawed idea…much like in online dating,” said Vigeant. You’d be really lucky for your best Tinder match to be your next-door neighbor.”
By opening up the net to therapists that aren’t in your immediate area, you are more likely to find someone with the exact skills and experience to help you. For example, if you live in a small town and you’re looking for a counsellor trained to help with gender issues, the pool will be small if not completely dry. Virtual therapy opens you up to a wealth of Canadian therapists, one of which will fill your needs.
Going virtual also means that the schedules are more flexible and that you can participate from the comfort of your living room. You don’t have to worry about the commute, the wait, or the nerves that accompany meeting someone in an unfamiliar place. If you have to talk through things that are uncomfortable or challenging, it may put you at ease to be in a place that feels safe and warm.
And that’s not the only benefit of being at home. Being virtual reduces some overhead costs like renting the brick and mortar building. This allows some virtual therapy companies like Inkblot and Wellin5 to charge about half of what an in-person therapist would. So, you’re getting the same help at a much more affordable price.
Although people have been using virtual therapy out of necessity due to the pandemic, online sessions have proven themselves to be equally as worthwhile as in-person sessions. If you’re suffering from mental health strain due to the pandemic and holding out on therapy until the pandemic is over, or if you’ve just been hesitant to make the jump, try out virtual therapy. It’s affordable, convenient, and you never know, you may just find the help you’ve been looking for.
Illustration by Natasha Remarchuk from Ouch!