Life is short. Time is precious.
If you are suffering, you want to take care of it. As soon as possible. You want to make the most of your life and give the best of yourself to your family and friends.
Counseling is the most effective way to address your issues, grow, learn coping skills, and improve your life satisfaction.
But who has the time?
Time waits for no one.
If you are like me, you are probably very busy all the time. And some activities simply cannot be done ‘off-site’.
Your body must be present for exercise at the gym or your training group for the Oakland Running Festival. Like many of us in the Bay area you may spend a lot of time on the daily commute. Perhaps you are routinely committed to trips on BART or stuck on Highway 24 at least twice a day.
All that means is that a visit to the therapist’s office after work, however useful to your recovery, can be too much at the end of a long day. It can add yet another hour to the commute or take away from your personal time. You don’t need timing your therapy to add to your stress.
Fortunately, you no longer have to travel to your therapist’s couch. Use your own!
There is a more convenient way of tending to your mental health that requires no commute at all. You can do it from the safe familiarity of your home, in your favorite chair. All without running into other people you may or may not know.
It’s called ‘Virtual Therapy’.
Virtual Therapy – Convenient Counseling at its best
Three recent, large-scale studies have shown that there is no difference in the effectiveness of online therapy compared to traditional face-to-face therapy. One of these studies was done at the famous Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the others come from the University of Zurich and Ontario, Canada.
Virtual therapy delivers, not just in terms of convenience, but also in terms of outcome.
How did they think of that?
It all started with crisis intervention phone lines, like the 24-hour crisis line of Alameda County, which still takes many calls from people every day. Those lines are set up for immediate help: any time you need to speak to someone, a trained volunteer will be there to listen to you. They provide such a vital service to our community. Virtual therapy simply takes the idea a step further.
How does it work?
With the development of technology, it is now possible to have your entire individual therapy session online – via a video link such as Skype or FaceTime, but for theraputic use using a Hippa compliant secure system.
Wherever you are, you will be able to see and hear your therapist – as long as you have adequate Wi-Fi. Generally, your basic Oakland internet service or cell phone plan would be up to the task.
Apart from the fact that you are not actually in the same room, virtual therapy works the same way as face-to-face counseling. You and your therapist can engage in a session and talk to each other normally. You can see each other’s body language and facial expressions. From there, you build a therapeutic relationship as if you were seated in the same room.
Flexibility and accessibility are key
Virtual therapy is ‘portable’. The mobile aspect of this mental health service is extremely helpful. You can have a session with your counselor from everywhere and anywhere. Your hotel room on a business trip, your villa on the beach, and even your parked car are counseling sites if the need arises.
Some clients like to mix it up. You have options. You could make a few initial appointments for sessions face-to-face. Then, make the rest of your therapy happen online.
Also, virtual therapy also allows you and your therapist to connect at ‘odd’ times. Meeting during your lunch break or early in the morning or late at night may now be feasible.
Physical distance and inconvenient hours no longer prevent you from seeking therapy? Feel better now. Virtual therapy is another way counseling can help you, whatever your circumstances. Call or message (wink*) your therapist and find out if virtual therapy is for you.