There are many benefits of online relationship counselling.
After you and your partner decide to take those first steps towards couples counselling, there are a few more questions you may want to ask yourself before making your first appointment.
Firstly, who is going to do the counselling? That’s a great question which I will cover in another post.
The next question is, where can we have the counselling? Yes, you may have found a fantastic therapist, but what if they live too far away? What if you have children and can’t find a sitter? What if you both live in different parts of the world?
This is where online relationship counselling can come into its own, not just to resolve these common issues, but there are many other reasons why online relationship counselling can be a good solution for you and your partner.
Pretty much everyone has access to a device that enables them to connect to the internet. And if you have an internet connection, then you can benefit from this valuable talking therapy.
Couples counselling is also referred to as marriage counselling, relationship counselling and family therapy.
I look at the ten benefits of online relationship counselling in this post.
Table of Contents
The 10 Benefits of Online Relationship Counselling
- 1. Accessibility and convenience
- 2. The comfort of your own space
- 3. Anonymity and confidentiality
- 4. Online counselling is more cost-effective
- 5. Online counselling means you are more likely to attend the appointment
- 6. Online therapy is less likely to be used as a bargaining tool.
- 7. No need to rely on childcare during an appointment
- 8. Get help from anywhere, anytime
- 9. Have your pets with you for comfort
- 10. Therapy can still go ahead even if your partner is in another country.
- The downside of online relationship counselling
The 10 Benefits of Online Relationship Counselling
1. Accessibility and convenience
Having access to an online couples counsellor is more accessible than travelling elsewhere. You remain in your own comfortable and familiar private space for your counselling sessions.
You choose where the sessions take place. If you are having sessions during your lunch break at work and can find somewhere private, you won’t use up any time travelling to and from the counsellor’s office.
Providing you have access to a quiet, private space, internet connection and a suitable device, your online relationship counselling can take place wherever and whenever.
2. The comfort of your own space
This goes hand in hand with accessibility. Having online relationship counselling in your own space can benefit the counselling session.
Imagine sitting in a familiar room, surrounded by the things you love, in comfortable clothing. You could even sit with a blanket over your lap and slippers on your feet.
Make yourself a mug of tea and settle down into your favourite corner. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s these home comforts and objects that invoke joy that will enhance your therapy sessions. Setting up a safe space will help you to discuss your relationship issues.
When taking part in a couples therapy session, you will find it more beneficial if you sit in individual chairs to see each other’s body language and expressions. Also, remember to position your device so that the therapist can also see you both.
3. Anonymity and confidentiality
When accessing a relationship session online, you still benefit from client confidentiality and privacy. If you have any anxiety around confidentiality, speak to your therapist about your concerns before starting your sessions.
A licensed therapist will have a code of conduct to follow when it comes to confidentiality and an online session is no different to speaking with a therapist one to one.
A few things to remember when it comes to online privacy and confidentiality.
- No need to sit in a waiting room. This means you are less likely to bump into anyone you know.
- The counsellor should wear headphones. Ensures that they are the only ones to hear what you are saying.
- You can choose audio-only. If you want to be completely anonymous, you could select audio-only. It helps if the counsellor can see your body language and facial expressions, but you may feel more able to speak if they cannot see you.
4. Online counselling is more cost-effective
There are several ways to reduce your costs when having online counselling.
- No need to pay for travel expenses
- No parking costs
- No babysitting fees
5. Online counselling means you are more likely to attend the appointment
Having a relationship therapy session online means that couples are more likely to attend. There is no need to travel to your session without hanging around and waiting after work.
6. Online therapy is less likely to be used as a bargaining tool.
Something interesting can happen during couple counselling. One partner may use the counselling sessions as a bargaining tool. For example, it’s not unusual for one half of the partnership to threaten not to show up to a session.
This threat is less likely to happen if you are both at home.
7. No need to rely on childcare during an appointment
Unless your children are tiny and require constant attention, having a counselling session from home means that the children can go and entertain themselves during your time with the counsellor.
Or, you could schedule the appointment to coincide with your baby’s nap time or have a friend, neighbour or family member stop by to watch them.
This solution is far easier than paying for childcare or having your children run around the counsellor’s office. A good tip is to make sure that your children are in another room so that you can speak freely to the counsellor.
8. Get help from anywhere, anytime
Being online opens up a world of possibilities for you. There is no restriction to seeing counsellors that are in your immediate community. If you live in one country, you can access the counselling services of someone in another country.
You benefit from connecting with counsellors globally and are no longer restricted by your geographical location.
9. Have your pets with you for comfort
It’s common knowledge that having a pet can reduce stress. Cats, dogs, house rabbits, birds, or whatever your animal of choice can positively affect your mental health.
Having your animal at home with you adds another dimension to your counselling session. Not only are you in comfortable and familiar surroundings, having your pet nearby can lower your stress levels even more.
10. Therapy can still go ahead even if your partner is in another country.
This final reason is one of the real bonuses of online therapy sessions. You and your partner don’t even have to be in the same room!
Wherever you both are in the world, you can be together for your online relationship counselling sessions.
The downside of online relationship counselling
After looking at all of the positives associated with online counselling, it can be hard to find any negatives. But although online counselling may be perfect for some couples, there are others that would prefer to spend their time in a counsellor’s office.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons that online relationship counselling may not suit you and your partner.
- It can be harder to read body language. Body language and facial expressions can be challenging to read on the screen. The counsellor is looking at a 2D image of you and your partner and may not be able to see your whole body. It’s important to set up the space so that the counsellor can see all of you as you sit in the chair.
- Interruptions. The flow of a session may be impacted by the doorbell ringing, phone notifications, children coming into the room or dogs barking. If there are others in the house, you may feel unable to speak for fear of being heard. Before beginning an online session, make sure that your notifications are off and your children know not to disturb you unless it’s a real emergency.
- Less intimate sessions. Speaking to someone through a screen may feel less personal to you. You might feel it more challenging to say what is on your mind. For some people, they don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone on a screen.
- Harder to control a session. If you are part of a volatile couple or if you feel unsafe discussing things with your partner, it may be more challenging for the therapist to control the session if they are not physically in the room.
- Technical issues. There can be very few of us that haven’t been on a virtual call that hasn’t lost internet connection or had some kind of technical issue. The internet dropping out, or the counsellor suddenly freezing mid session can completely throw a counselling session and you don’t want the time spent with your counsellor to be taken up with time spent sorting out a technical issue.
How does an online session happen?
Since the Covid pandemic, we’ve all become far more comfortable with chatting over the internet. Whether that’s via Zoom, Skype, Facetime or any other videoconference technology, there are many ways for you to access a counsellor.
All you need is a good internet connection and a suitable device where you can see and hear your counsellor, and they can see and listen to you.
How do I know it’s a private session?
This can be a genuine concern when speaking over videoconferencing. You have to be reassured that no one else can overhear your conversation at the other end. Make sure that your counsellor is speaking to you from their office. You can even ask them to show you the room so they can reassure no one else is in the room with them.
Also, your counsellor must be wearing headphones so that no one else can hear them talking to you.
Where can I find online counsellors?
There are several places where you can look for an online counsellor.
Counsellors in the UK
Counsellors in the USA