Lesser-known benefits of telehealth counseling
A lot of debate is going on about the effectiveness of telehealth and that if one should opt for traditional therapy session or telehealth counseling. However, before going any further, it is important to understand what telehealth actually is.
Telehealth or online counseling is basically counseling services provided through the internet via emails, chat rooms and webcams.
benefits of telehealth counseling
There have been many arguments in favor of and against telehealth but considering how everything is being digitized in this era of internet, let us look at the positive aspects of telehealth counseling.
Following are four lesser known advantages of telehealth counseling that make its argument stronger:
According to a Cisco survey, 74% of individuals prefer accessibility to healthcare over in-person sessions with a counselor.
One of the strongest arguments in favor of telehealth counseling is that it is easily accessible to anyone having an internet connection. Telehealth counseling breaks barriers of distance and allows people living in remote areas to stay connected to therapy where mental health counseling services are inaccessible.
Moreover,people having mental problems that keep them from visiting a mental health counselor can also use these services effortlessly.
In this era of social media, teenagers are more comfortable with sharing their thoughts through internet. Most teenagers are not comfortable sharing their problems face to face, therefore, telehealth counseling can be groundbreaking in reaching such individuals and helping them share their problems comfortably.
A major problem telehealth services solve is the problem of scheduling.Traditional model of health services has a drawback that it needs to be set in a certain time period. This issue creates inconvenience for both the patient and the doctor.
With online telehealthcounseling, it becomes easier to overcome scheduling constraints. A doctor can be available to his/her patients at flexible timings. It also helps many individuals that could not find time for therapy because of inflexibility of their job timings.
Moreover, telehealth services are quite affordable. Both the patient and the therapist can save a lot through telehealth sessions. For the patients, the cost of transport is saved while for the therapist, costs such as capital, property, administrative procedures, etc. are saved.
Therapists without capital to have their own health center can easily start their practice by providing online counseling.
3. Social Stigma and anonymity:
Although people are becoming aware of the seriousness of mental health issues, the problem is not fully eradicated, especially in under-developed regions.
Moreover, many people are still uncomfortable in sharing their mental problems with others and fear what others might think if they find out. Such people avoid seeking help because they don’t want to go to speak to someone face to face and feel judged.
Telehealth counseling provides excellent solution for all these problems. Its model does not demand physical presence of the patient and is easily accessible over a variety of media platforms such as smart phones, laptop, desktop, etc.
People can easily get treatment inside their homes where they feel safe instead of feeling intimidated by prying eyes while waiting for the doctor in the waiting room.
Furthermore, online counseling also offers a level of anonymity that can prove quite comfortable for many people. Without coming face to face with the therapist, a patient feels a sense of freedom from biases of color, size, race, etc. Therefore, the patient communicates more openly, which can result in better treatment.
4. Various forms of communication
Telehealth counseling offers a wide range of platforms to communicate through. For example, written content is one of the most commonly used forms of communication over the internet.
Counselors can use this form of communication in emails or chat rooms. Written communication offers many advantages over other modes of communication. It lets the person contemplate, and gives the patient enough time to construct his/her thoughts before expressing them.
It can be helpful to patients that face difficulty in verbal communication or face to face interactions. Moreover, such form of communication is also devoid of non-verbal cues from the therapist which may discomfort the patient.
Research proves that writing can have therapeutic impact on people, therefore, making it an excellent form of communication between the therapist and the patient.
Another added advantage written communication offers is reference points for the patient for future discussion and ways to asses change and progress.
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