benefits of online counseling

Is online counseling right for me? Will I still get the same benefits from treatment if I meet online instead of in person?

Mariposa Center, a non-profit counseling center and treatment facility in Orange County, can answer those questions based on firsthand experience. We started offering online counseling in 2019, so when the Covid-19 pandemic began we were able to transition seamlessly to those channels and we continue to use them today. We have found that virtual meetings are a viable option for mental health treatment today, and we’ll explore the reasons and benefits below.

Why Online Counseling is a Viable Option Today 

When Mariposa Center’s doors first opened in 1977, both video conferencing and widespread acceptance of mental health treatment were not yet mainstream.

In the years since, more people than ever have started seeking therapy, and technology has advanced to the point where patients can have face-to-face conversations with mental health professionals from anywhere in the world if they have a strong enough internet connection.

That ability to connect is just one of the benefits that online counseling provides, and we’ll look at a few more in detail below.

1. Connect From Anywhere

Finding time for therapy can be difficult if you have a busy schedule. Ironically, the busier your schedule gets, the more difficult it can be to schedule a counseling session – and those are often the times when you could use professional counseling the most.

Online counseling reduces these challenges because you can connect with your therapist from anywhere – no more hunting for parking spots or awkward waiting room interactions. 

Further, online counseling is often more accessible for people with physical limitations or disabilities that make it difficult to get to and from a therapist’s office. And crucially, early studies have found that online counseling can be just as effective as in-person treatment for anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.

2. The Comforts of Home

Counseling centers and therapists’ offices can be comfortable and welcoming, but they can never recreate or replace the comforts of home. 

If you’re working through difficult challenges like anxiety or depression with a counselor, you might find it easier to speak candidly from your own home rather than an unfamiliar location. Also, providing your therapist with an inside look at your home environment may make it easier to connect and share openly.

3. A Preference for Privacy

Starting a counseling program can be intimidating. Some individuals express feelings of shame or inadequacy at their need for counseling, especially in the early stages of treatment. 

In contrast, opting into online counseling and conducting sessions from home or another private space makes it easier to overcome these initial barriers and focus on the reasons that brought you to treatment. 

4. Expand Your Options

As you proceed with therapy and learn more about the challenges you’re facing, you may need to connect with a specialist who can help with specific concerns like substance abuse, eating disorders, or recovering from domestic violence.

However, accessing these services in person might be challenging depending on your location and transportation access.

Online counseling expands your options by providing virtual access to counselors and other mental health professionals who may be outside of your immediate area. Further, if you are scheduling these appointments in addition to your regular sessions, you can save twice as much hypothetical time in transit by connecting with a virtual counselor.

5. Affordability of Online Counseling

Some health insurance carriers provide coverage for in-person or virtual mental health services, but individuals without access to such benefits often discover that online counseling is a cost-effective alternative to in-person sessions.

“The ability to connect with clients virtually was vital during Covid, and continuing to offer online counseling has been essential to providing our community at large with the mental health services they need.”

– Krista Driver, LMFT; President & CEO, Mariposa Center

In short, Mariposa Center’s core mission is to connect those in need with services that can restore their quality of life. Virtual sessions have become an integral part of providing these services effectively.

Click here to learn more about Mariposa Center’s online counseling services.

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