pros & cons: online & telephone counseling - Northlight Counseling

Counseling Options: In-Office | Online | Telephone

Pros of Online and Telephone Counseling:

  1. Clients send / receive messages or talk on the phone at their convenience, in the privacy of their own home, office or car.
  2. Clients have access to therapy who otherwise would not, due to geographic distance or physical limitations.
  3. Clients who might not otherwise visit a therapist, may take comfort in the anonymity that online and telephone therapy provides.
  4. Online counseling can be ideal for people who keep journals/diaries or write about their feelings. It can serve as a tool for reflection, self-exploration, and insight into oneself and one’s difficulties.
  5. Email counseling allows both counselor and client to have time to reflect, compose thoughts and respond carefully.
  6. Less expensive than office counseling.

Cons of Online and Telephone Counseling:

  1. The counselor can not see important non-verbal cues of the client as they would in an office setting.
  2. Lacking a physical presence some clients may experience a reduction of intimacy, trust and commitment as they would in an office setting.
  3. Clients with poor typing skills may find online counseling frustrating.
  4. Online responses can have different interpretations from the client and from the therapist.
  5. Confidentiality can be breached if emails are sent to the wrong address or if hackers or Internet service providers breach confidentiality in transit. Extra safeguards should be considered when the computer is shared by family members, students, library patrons, etc.
  6. Online Counseling Is Not For Everyone: Online counseling is not appropriate for all clients, including: people who are currently in crisis or feeling suicidal; people with serious emotional problems; people under the age of 18; people who are not willing or able to put their feelings into writing.
  7. Unable to Provide Diagnosis: Unlike traditional psychotherapy, online counseling cannot provide formal diagnosis and treatment.