As the pandemic became the new normal, more and more consumers shifted to and embraced online platforms to meet their everyday needs. These unprecedented times have accelerated the adoption of digital means in almost every realm. People have adapted to online means for – entertainment, groceries, shopping, and of course healthcare and wellness needs. The pandemic also brought about a wave of psychological concerns with an increase in anxiety-related issues and uncovering of already existing, latent issues as the stress levels tested and pressured people’s existing coping mechanisms. Online platforms like Betterlyf also rose to the situational demands and offered mental health interventions by professionals to the masses. Tele-psychotherapy refers to the provision of therapeutic interventions using telecommunication technologies like email, text messaging, video conferencing, online chat, messaging, or internet phone.
Why Online Counseling and Therapy?
Nosy neighbors and relatives giving unsolicited advice, passing insensitive casual remarks, judgments, gaze, and gossip are all things that pop in the mind when one thinks of going to a mental health professional. In a country like India, where stigma continues to be the most prevalent barrier in seeking psychological help, online therapy and online counseling allow people to seek professional guidance and support from the comfort of their homes while maintaining their privacy.
Many times, people recognize their needs and have the desire to reach out, address their concerns and work towards better mental well-being. However, it does take a lot of courage to finally take that step and overcome the underlying reluctance. The hesitation comes from years of conditioning which tells us that experiencing psychological problems and reaching out is some sort of abnormality and weakness. When in reality suffering and needing support is just the essence of being human. Online mental health platforms help to bridge this gap by bringing people one step closer to help with its ease and convenience in service accessibility.
Have you felt jitters when you see your phone ringing or when an acquaintance shows up at the door unannounced? Well, you are not alone. As individuals, people have unique ways of expression. No one mode of communication fits all! To discuss intimate details of your life, you must experience a sense of comfort with the medium of interaction. While a face-to-face setting is more comforting for some, it can be further anxiety-inducing for others. With the flexibility of choosing from various options like Chat, call, Video- you can begin your mental health journey at your own pace however you like.
Digital mode ensures accessibility and promotes remote healthcare. With the widespread use of smartphones in the remotest areas, people residing in various parts of the country can get much-needed access to quality mental healthcare.
With hectic work schedules, you might just feel too tired to make that visit to the therapist’s office. Online counseling and therapy allow you to save time, effort, and cost of traveling- all of which are considerable practical barriers to accessing healthcare services.
Concerns Online Therapy and Counseling can Help with
The field is still very new. However, the emerging data from research provides promising evidence regarding the efficacy of online therapy. Many of the same mental health conditions that are targeted in a face-to-face setting can be addressed in online therapy as well. At Betterlyf, we have seen how stress, depression, and anxiety-related issues, workplace difficulties, personal development, relationship issues can all be worked upon effectively through virtual means.
Relationship counseling– Building fulfilling and satisfying relationships requires work and effort. Relationship counseling involves the identification of needs, communication patterns, managing expectations, boundaries, conflict resolution, perspective-taking, open emotional expression, and exploring each partner’s ideas of the relationship.
Stress and Anxiety– Stress and anxiety responses can be triggered by a variety of life challenges. Online counseling can help to identify triggers and stressors, learn relaxation and grounding techniques, improve sleep hygiene, challenge and replace unhelpful thinking patterns- all of which will empower you to cope in a better manner.
Depression– According to the World Health Organization (2020), 56 million Indians suffer from depression. Many of these people never receive any professional help. Online counseling has proven to be as effective as traditional forms of service in dealing with depression. Online counseling can help in enhancing awareness of thought and behavior patterns, build healthy coping mechanisms, adaptive thinking styles and learn emotional regulation.
Workplace Difficulties– Counseling can also help you manage difficulties at the workplace and excel at your job by setting clear boundaries at work, overcoming social anxiety, developing leadership qualities, gaining confidence, using healthy conflict resolution strategies, maintaining work-life balance, and keeping yourself motivated.
Building Self Esteem and Confidence– Many of us struggle with confidence issues which keeps us from taking up new challenges and performing to the best of our abilities. Counseling can help you to explore the origins of low self-esteem, restore confidence level, overcome self-defeating patterns, engage in positive self-talk, and setting realistic goals.
For clinical concerns of high severity or risk, medical management and in-person treatment are advisable.
Types of Online Therapy
Some therapeutic approaches and modalities blend more easily with the online mode than others. Depending on the client’s unique issues and goals, different therapeutic orientations are chosen. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, solution-focused brief therapy are popularly used forms of online therapy. Psychodynamic therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, gestalt therapy, and many other therapeutic approaches too lend themselves well to the online medium with some modifications.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most frequently used therapeutic approach in mental health interventions used to deal with a wide variety of concerns like negative thinking patterns in depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, behavioral concerns, and many others. CBT emphasizes the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The approach posits that negative, unhelpful thinking patterns negatively impact emotional experience and behavior. By targeting and reframing the thought pattern, individuals start to feel better and learn behaviors to cope more effectively. Research indicates that CBT can be effectively delivered via online platforms.
Person-centered therapy is guided by values of empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness. It is a non-directive approach that posits that individuals play a primary role in their growth. The innate worth and potential of an individual are acknowledged. When clients are provided with a free, non-judgmental space to explore themselves, they tend to grow and unfold their true potential while the therapist acts as a facilitator for change. Research indicates that the approach is useful in empowering people to deal with situational stress, mild to moderate levels of depression and anxiety.
Solution Focused Brief Therapy
Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a goal-oriented approach to brief therapy. Interventions are targeted at helping clients to identify and encourage the use of those behaviors that have worked for them in the past. It can be used to deal with a variety of concerns across different cultures. Apart from individual therapy, SFBT is popularly used in couple therapy as well. These times have revealed that there is an increased need to adopt digital means into practice. The future of mental healthcare in the Indian landscape largely lies in online platforms to ensure accessibility and approachability. So now that you have a fair idea about online counseling and the therapeutic approaches, go ahead book an appointment, and see yourself grow!
Seeking help is a sign of courage. Don't let self-limiting beliefs hold you back from a life you deserve. Avail online therapy to become happier and better. Learn how