Virtual counseling can be a powerful tool in improving mental and emotional health. The use of virtual counseling increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as many individuals and families were confined to their homes and dealing with more stressors. Many people have learned about the benefits of virtual counseling services, and will continue to use these services as vaccines become available. If you’ve wondered about virtual counseling and the benefits of virtual counseling services, keep reading.
6 Benefits of Virtual Counseling Services
One of the most obvious benefits of virtual counseling services is the ability to get counseling from the comfort of your home. There’s no need to drive to your counselor’s office and take time out of your day. Instead, simply find a quiet room where you and your counselor can talk privately. You might choose a time when your kids are at school, when you normally have time off from work, or another time that works according to your schedule. This makes virtual counseling easier than ever to take part in.
Michigan Counseling Centers provides teletherapy for mental health during COVID-19
What goes on between you and your therapist is confidential, including in-person and virtual counseling. The most effective therapy services are based on trust between the client and the counselor, and confidentiality is a key part of this. The counselor’s code of ethics, as well as HIPAA protections and legal protections are all in place to help uphold that trust, safety and confidentiality.
There are few situations where a therapist might release information without your express permission, such as the risk of immediate harm to yourself or others. If you are not certain about these situations or you need clarification, ask your therapist about confidentiality when you begin therapy.
3. Local or Distant
Virtual therapy services can span any distance. You might find an effective and helpful therapist who is in your same town, across the state, or even across the country. In some cases, it may be helpful to work with a local therapist nearby, even if you are using virtual counseling services. In other cases, you might find an expert who is farther away. If you are looking for a specific type of therapy or a therapist with specific skills, widening your search may help you find what you’re looking for.
Working with a local therapist will allow you to arrange in-person sessions if the situation ever arises. If you lose internet for a time, if you no longer have access to a quiet or private space, or if in-person exercises would be helpful for you, you will be able to visit your local therapist.
4. Covered by Health Insurance
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires that mental, emotional and behavioral health services be covered by health insurance providers in the same way that they cover medical services. This means, a visit to your doctor’s office for preventative care must be covered in the same way (or better) as a therapy session. So, you will pay similar co-pays, but the coverage will be the same.
Most Americans are not aware of this. Additionally, it’s important to know that virtual counseling services with a licensed therapist are also covered. Though COVID-19 presented many people with a good reason to take part in virtual therapy services, you do not need to provide a reason for why you would prefer virtual therapy.
5. Comfort of Your Home
Many people have anxieties about seeking therapy; they may be unsure of what to expect from therapy or counseling, worried about judgement from friends or family, or even nervous about trying something new. Taking part in virtual counseling services from the comfort of your home can help to alleviate some of these concerns.
With virtual counseling sessions, you can start therapy in a place that is comfortable, familiar and safe for you. This might be your bedroom, living room, study, or anywhere where you can be alone and undisturbed. It may be helpful to use headphones or earbuds to hear your therapist properly, and to cancel out noise and distractions.
6. Match Schedules with Family Members
If you are seeking family counseling with your children or partner, virtual counseling sessions may make it easier to align your schedules. If you are seeking counseling with family members that aren’t currently living with you, you can call in separately for a group session. Or, if you live together, you might all join in on the virtual counseling session in the same quiet room. Virtual counseling gives families and groups more flexibility, making it easier to meet.
As our work and social lives begin to change dramatically again in the wake of COVID-19, it’s normal to feel stressed. If you’ve considered therapy in the past, but you were feeling unsure or uncomfortable, virtual therapy may be ideal for you. Schedule a virtual counseling session today to learn more.