• If you’re considering therapy, you’re probably wondering, “Which type of counseling is right for me: In-person or online counseling?” 
  • In-person counseling is the traditional approach, in which you go to your counselor’s office and attend your session there, face to face.
  • There are perks of in-person counseling including the utilization of nonverbal communication and hands-on techniques.
  • Online counseling is a more modern-day approach, in which counseling is done over the internet.
  • Online counseling can increase a client’s comfort level, give individuals who are housebound the opportunity to attend counseling, and offer other unique benefits.
  • Both in-person and online counseling can prove valuable and help you to work through your unique challenges.

Maybe you’re going through a really rough breakup. Or you’ve just moved to a new city and you’re feeling extremely lonely. Or nothing out of the ordinary has happened, but you aren’t all that happy, and you want to do something about it.

In all these circumstances, a viable solution to your problem is counseling. Fortunately, the stigma surrounding mental health is dissipating, and people are realizing just how important their psychological well-being is. Because of this, many are more accepting of the idea of therapy. 

If this sounds like you, there’s probably one question that stands between you and your first therapy appointment: “Which type of counseling is right for me: In-person or online counseling?” We’re going to walk you through the basics of each to help you make an informed decision — your first session awaits! 

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Keeping It Conventional: In-Person Counseling

When you hear the word counseling, in-person counseling is likely what comes to mind: You go to your counselor’s office and attend your session there, face to face. This is the traditional counseling approach.

Perks of in-person counseling that you can’t get in online counseling include:

  • Therapists can better read a client’s body language and other nonverbal cues, to further understand a client’s feelings, comfort level, and more.
  • Sessions take place in a therapist’s office, which provides a neutral location and safe space for the client to open up.
  • Therapists can use hands-on techniques to help their clients, including art therapy and play therapy techniques.

Making the Modern-Day Move: Online Counseling

Maybe you’ve decided to forego the norm and try online counseling instead. That’s great — simply put, online counseling is counseling done over the internet. Common mediums for online counseling include video, text, chat, and telephone. 

Online therapists can employ many of the same modalities used in in-person counseling, via virtual means. However, this approach to counseling offers certain benefits that in-person counseling may not. For example, online counseling can…

  • Increase a client’s comfort level, being that they can attend sessions from their desired location (which is often home).
  • Allow clients to choose from a larger pool of counselors and empower them to find the very best fit.
  • Give certain individuals who are housebound the opportunity to go to therapy.
  • Enable clients to remain anonymous and keep their counseling journey completely private, if so desired.

Olivia Djouadi, UKCP Accredited Psychotherapist, delves into a couple of these benefits: “Online counseling is a godsend to those with huge amounts of anxiety who can’t leave their homes or those with physical disabilities that leave them housebound. It is also useful to those who may not want their counseling to be known. This includes some service/military personnel, police, firemen, or those in jobs that may not realize how important care is for their staff. Certain professions do offer support, yet many feel they don’t want to be seen getting assistance.”

The Universal Benefits of Therapy

Which type of counseling is right for you? Consider the pros and cons of online counseling, as well as in-person counseling. No matter the approach, counseling is designed to help people live better. And it’s proven effective — if you put the effort into the therapeutic process, you’re likely to benefit.

Here are a few of those benefits you can look forward to experiencing:

  1. Better understanding thoughts and feelings.
  2. Healing and moving forward after a difficult event including trauma or the loss of a loved one.
  3. Understanding negative thinking patterns, which can contribute to other challenges, and adopting a more positive way of thinking.
  4. Learning effective communication strategies and self-care practices.
  5. Building healthier, stronger relationships.