When my daughter was born, my husband and I discovered the beauty of Skype. I remember being so excited for my parents to receive the webcam we mailed them as a gift. Having a way to connect with family 1000 miles away and let them see our new baby grow was amazing! Our daughter could get to know her grandparents too! Skype was changing the way we could do long distance family relationships.
Around that same time, while I was in grad school, some of my professors were talking about how online video counseling was the up and coming thing. I remember thinking, “There is no way I am ever going to do that.” I wasn’t so technology adverse. Clearly, I was embracing it for my family. “Counseling is different,” I thought. I really value the in-person connection. I prefer the in-person connection with family and could not imagine having that connection needed for the deep work of counseling, with someone over a computer screen. Since then, I have realized that although video counseling may not be the same as in person, there can be advantages to both. Over video you are connecting in a different way, which may require more focus and attention. This could in some ways enhance the counseling experience.
I’ve had a lot of years to mull this over and warm up to the idea enough to give it a try. While there are certainly situations where online video counseling is not the best choice, there are many others that make it a very good option. Here are some of the reasons I now offer online video counseling.
Online video counseling makes getting help more accessible to more people
Often times smaller communities don’t have therapists, or if they do, there isn’t one that specializes in the area needed. As a LMFT in California, I am able to offer marriage counseling to anyone in the state. That could mean helping people in a small town of 1000 people with no mental health services or serving a couple in a large community that doesn’t have the time to fight an hour of traffic each way to go to the therapist five miles down the road. This leads right to my next thought…
Online video counseling can be more convenient
As mentioned above, in some areas traffic could be the thing that keeps couples from reaching out for the help they need. Maybe childcare is an issue. While it wouldn’t be the best scenario to work with a couple while their child is in hearing, they could get creative with scheduling during nap time or allowing the kids to watch a movie in another room. If you have a private space at work, it could be possible to have a session while taking a break at the office. Having to make up 50 minutes at the end of the day rather than an hour and a half or more, because of travel time could make counseling feel a little more doable to some.
Online video counseling can offer more privacy
Privacy is a huge concern for many clients. If you are doing counseling online, there is no need to worry about your vehicle being seen parked outside the counseling office or running into someone you know in the waiting room. You can talk with your therapist in the comfort and privacy of your own space.
Long distance couples could benefit from online video counseling
I am really embracing technology when I say that we can do a 3-way video session. So, if husband and wife travel a lot and have difficulty scheduling appointments at the same time and location, couple counseling is still possible! The therapist could be in Kingsburg while one spouse is in LA and the other is in Sacramento, all having a session together. That is pretty cool. I’ll admit, I haven’t tried this one yet. If you have a need for this, let me know and you could be the first!
If some of the barriers to getting the support you need could be eliminated by online video counseling, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Online video counseling model or traditional in-person counseling model, if your relationship is in a tough place, your marriage is worth the investment of counseling.