Child Counseling – The Need in Modern Times
Most People think that mental illness is only related to adults. As the society runs, the act of balancing a healthy family life and work life becomes difficult leading to adults suffering from anxiety and depression. It is true that adults tend to face mental health problems, however, the mental health of children is of equal importance.
While most adults strive to fight against daily stress and concerns, we often tend to overlook the mental health of our children. Most of us assume that childhood is the most relaxed time. It is very unlikely that children could suffer from mental health problems and illnesses. The student life is getting complex day by day. Childhood should be a happy time in a person’s life. Dealing with mental and emotional illness, however, can put a hindrance on this carefree time. It can also affect and lead to more problems in adulthood.
Children can experience the same amount of stress and depression as an adult, the symptoms may differ from that of the adults. For example, instead of becoming quiet, a child suffering from depression may have unexplainable outbursts and behavioral concerns.
There may be a number of causes for mental and emotional concerns in children. These may include things such as meeting new people, dealing with the divorce of parents, death, grief, abuse, poverty, problems in school and trouble with peers. However, some disorders may be hereditary and caused due to genetic factors as well.
Child Counseling or Youth Counseling is a type of counseling that focuses on children suffering from mental disorders or behavioral concerns. Guidance is needed to help the children for optimum achievement and adequate adjustments in the varied situations of life. Child Counselors can help the children become mentally and emotionally stable, which can help them become healthier and happier adults.
Counselors today work with children using different types of therapy such as Play therapy, individual counseling, group therapy and Art and craft therapy. Through these activities, children tend to reveal a lot of their thoughts and emotions and the counselor can tap on the concerns as well. Children today are aware of the counseling services provided to them at schools, however, they also have stereotypes about visiting a counselor as they don’t wish to fall under the tag of “crazy”. This is where as parents we need to make them understand the difference between being crazy and the reality. This can only happen when we ourselves understand that Counseling is a medium through which they can help themselves and lead a healthy life.
Children face various issues at school right from body shaming to bullying to the peer pressure. Examinations are meant to make children understand how they become better in a subject, the scenario today, however, leads them to face stress and depression due to low scores.
Child counselors work for the children and with the children. The ambiance in a counseling session is made more friendly and comfortable rather than a setting wherein they adapt fears about speaking. Counseling helps children express better and feel secured while expressing their thoughts and needs apart from their near and dear ones. Just as adults, children today also feel pressurized to live according to the norms of society based on their age groups. Sometimes the need to fit in the group increases and inability to do so leads to disturbing thoughts and self-doubt. This which in turn affects their self-concept and character building.
Visiting a counselor is a decision one takes for their and their child’s better present which will then lead to a better and healthy future.
What Music Does to Your Brain
Music has an impact on your brain and the kind of music you listen to speaks a lot about your personality. Various music genres and a person’s mood reflects the way you react to a situation. We present to you some of the effects of music and facts that may help you understand yourself and your mood.
- Your heartbeat mimics the beat of the music you’re listening to.
- Fast music will make you drink faster and louder music in a bar will make you drink more in a shorter period of time.
- A song that gets stuck in your head on repeat is called an earworm.
- Listening to a happy or sad song not only affects your mood but can also change your perception of the world around you. You may recognize happiness or sadness more in others depending on the song.
- There are few activities in life that utilizes the entire brain, and music is one of them.
- Favorite songs are favorites most likely because they’re associated with an intense emotional event in your life.
- Music can keep babies calm twice as long as speech.
- Learning a musical instrument can improve fine motor and reasoning skills.
- When writing, reading or studying listen to music with no vocals. It will help you concentrate better.
- While music can’t cure diseases like Cancer, it can help relieve a patient’s aches and pains.
- People who listen to more than one genre of music, tend to be: smarter, more creative, open-minded, and honest.
Ø Research shows that the Left ear is better at picking up the music and other sounds. A 2007 study found that music, especially classical music, helps plants grow faster.
- None of the Beatles could read or write music.
- Listening to music has the potential to have a small but significant impact on athletic performance.
- Playing music regularly will physically alter your brain structure.
- The brain responds to music the same way it responds to something that you eat.
- Music is often prescribed to patients with Parkinson’s Disease and stroke victims.
Beyond the Myths and Towards the Truth About Counseling
There are several Myths surrounding Counseling and Therapy. The idea of going to a counselor makes people fear the judgments that will follow. Here we unfold the myths that cover counseling and people who go for counseling.
Ø Only ‘Crazy’ People Go for Counseling
People who visit a counselor and go for therapy are regular people like you and me, they aren’t violent, dangerous or crazy. Labels like these often stop people from doing the needful.
Ø Counseling changes who you are forever.
You are special, and the goal of counseling is not to change what makes you special. The goal is to bring out the list of changes from your end and only you can incorporate those changes. Counseling doesn’t change who you are, it helps you become a better person that too only based on your willingness.
Ø Counseling Is Only for People with Mental Illness
People visit counselors in order to cope with grief, depression, anxiety and other issues. Not necessarily mental illnesses like ADHD, Autism spectrum, and Schizophrenia. Some people also visit counselors to attain some clarity in their relationships, sexual tensions, and daily life stress.
Ø Counselors will tell me what to do
Counselors at no point are there to rule your life or become leaders who will tell you what needs to be done. Counselors simply ask you questions and together you can find answers to your issues. They do not give bits of advice or rules to follow.
Ø People Who Go for Counseling Are Broken and Emotionally Damaged
Just because you are facing issues and dealing with problems does not make you emotionally damaged or broken. It is not the end of the world, and you can always heal yourself by taking the right steps.
Ø They’ll Prescribe You Medicines
Counseling Psychologists are not eligible to prescribe medications. If at any point they feel that you need medication, they first refer you to a Psychiatrist who then based on their assessments decide whether you need medication. However, to eat or not to eat those medicines remain your decision.
Ø Couples Counseling always makes a one-person villain
Couples counseling involves listening to all the people involved in the relationship and work towards bringing the changes required together. They never intend to show or label any one person as a villain.
Ø People Get Counseled Only After Some Tragedy
Counseling can help you in several ways, and it’s a myth that one needs counseling only after facing a tragedy. You might be physically and mentally healthy and still seek counseling to maintain or improve it.
Ø A counselor does not know me and can’t help me
This is actually one of the reasons why a counselor will be able to help you better. When someone knows you it becomes difficult for the person to see your situation from a different perspective and while some may succeed in the perception, they might find it difficult to express it to you. This happens because they think “what if you feel bad”.
Ø It’s Too Expensive
Although most people feel counseling is costly, it is a long-term investment you make towards a better well-being. Counseling helps in building your physical as well as mental well-being.
At CLAP, we offer counseling sessions as well at reasonable rates.
Ø Counseling never ends
Counseling sessions are always planned to depend on the concerns. A counselor sets a goal for himself/herself after the first session and works towards achieving the set goal. The goals are decided with you and your approval.
IT IS TIME TO SEE A COUNSELOR.
If you’ve read our Article on “Beyond Myths and Towards the Better of Counseling”, you probably have understood the difference between the Myths and Truths related to Counseling and Therapy. here is the next segment of our article which brings light the signs that it is time to see a counselor.
Ø Nothing You have done Seems to have Helped
Sometimes our own coping strategies fail us. They suddenly stop working or become less effective. You probably have tried everything from talking to a friend, exercising, search for help online, tried self-help techniques and yet, nothing seems to be helpful. It is time you visit a therapist.
Ø Everything you feel is Intense
You are constantly in an angry mood and when you tent o oversize your issues which further leads to anxiety, you might want to visit a therapist. Trying too hard to be happy, however, making every situation around you becomes intense leading to further restrictions on your happiness. It could lead to panic attacks and even make you avoid important things.
Ø Unhealthy Behaviours
Being spontaneous is fun, but it affects you when those spontaneous decisions affect your wellbeing. Decisions such as spending unnecessarily which leads to debts unpayable, excessive drinking and drug addiction or having loud reactions to others’ actions, could be a sign of a deeper problem. Talking to a professional can help find the root causes or triggers to these unhealthy behaviors.
Ø Recurring Headaches and Stomachaches with No Explanation
When you are emotionally upset, your body is also affected by it. If you read our article on When your Body Talks, we have specified what each body part ache means while there may be no definite explanation. While you can’t seem to find the right medication for these aches, it may be about time that you visit a therapist.
Ø Relationships Get Affected Easily
Continuous fights with your friends or finding difficulty in making new friends is a sign that therapy may help. Romantic relationships may often feel difficult to handle, relationships with significant others are also equally affected and hard to maintain. While discussing these issues, it may also help resolve issues revolving around other areas of life because at some point all are connected.
Ø “It’s My Fault” is your most said Statement
While a lot of problems surround you, you tend to beat yourself up for others’ problems as well.
You tend to blame yourself for things that may not be under your control and create unwanted stress and anxiety within yourself. While a therapist helps you look at the problems as an external source, it will help you build your self-concept and find solutions easily. It would also help in maintaining a healthy mind and body.
Ø “Log Kya Kahenge” becomes the biggest concern
As humans, we are bound to be thinking of what others think of our actions. However, while the need for recognition and criticism is high amongst us, it often leads to a barrier from living a healthy life. In order to fit into the societal norms, we often make compromises that are not needed for the self. Being the perfect fit for every situation that has a void puzzle piece will lead you to be unhappiest.
Therapy can help you make mentally healthy decisions and choose what’s right for them rather what fits the societies’ belief.
Ø You Need A Good Listener
It is often seen that people may not necessarily need assessment and treatment but just someone to listen to them. Sometimes all we need is someone who can spare some time and listen to our thoughts and needs and who isn’t part of their family or friend circle. This helps in talking to someone without being judged or losing focus onto other things.
Ø Friends and Family have shared their concerns
Your friends are probably the best ones to tell you when they notice the obvious signs. They share their concerns with you and suggest you visit therapy. However, you may avoid them by getting upset or laughing it off. Sometimes even your family notices and may suggest you talk to a therapist indirectly.
Ø Human Mind and Body Needs
We are humans and we do not function on electricity or batteries. We survive on daily life situations, our thoughts, our needs and our desires. They maintain a balance and only then we live through such times. We make sure we visit a doctor even for the slightest cough and cold, we visit a skin specialist if we have a problem related to skin and we make frequent visits to a dentist while our teeth are still white and clean. Then there is no reason we avoid visiting a counselor when the mind and body need it in order to maintain all the above bodily needs.
We come up with some of the most amazing excuses to avoid visiting a counselor. We understand as we said, we are only human. It is really important that we start finding the right reasons rather than excuses. These excuses will further add to psychosomatic concerns and later a regret for not doing the right thing at the right time.
Visit CLAP center for counseling and further queries.
Lesser Known Facts About Yoga
We are aware that Yoga is important to maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind. However, there are some lesser-known facts about Yoga which may help understand it in a broader way.
- Yoga has no side effects whatsoever, as long as it is performed under the watchful eyes of an experienced Guru.
- The most important organ in the body is the – No you got this one wrong. It is not the heart but the lungs. According to a devout yogi, learning to breathe properly expands our lung capacity which then helps to open our mind, increases ones focus and leads to a happy life. Therefore, Yoga primarily focuses on breathing.
- There exist more than 100 styles of Yoga. The practices range from the traditional styles to the modern day or popular styles to some unique styles as well. Some of the traditional styles are Hatha, Iyengar or Tantra Yoga. While some popular styles include Hot Yoga, Vinyasa, or Ashtanga and some unique styles are Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga, Aerial Yoga or Buti Yoga.
- Yoga helps in treating Schizophrenia. Yoga improves negative symptomatology and social cognition in people suffering from Schizophrenia.
- DOGA– Yes you read it right. Doga is Yoga with Dogs. It is a form of Yoga practiced to attain harmony with your pets.
- Yoga is not just about the “Asana” There are 8 branches of Yoga such as Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. Asana is just the third branch of Yoga which denotes posture.
- Our Lifespan is not about measuring the years, it is about measuring the breaths. Yoga focuses on breathing because it is the breaths that count how many wells we increase our lifespan. It is about how many breaths are we left with and then every breath becomes critical instead of being taken for granted.
- The Rig Veda is said to be the oldest spiritual text in the world, dating back to 1500 B.C. – some say even earlier! It is the first of the Vedas (a set of four Hindu religious texts) and contains thousands of Sanskrit hymns, mantras, and elements of yoga that are believed to be over 4,000 years old.
- Yoga originally has 8 elements. What the world refers to as ‘yoga’ are merely 2 or 3 of those 8 elements. All the eight elements are to be practiced in the correct sequence in order to achieve ultimate wisdom.
- Yoga should be practiced 24 hours a day. This does not mean you need to be performing asanas 24/7. Yogic teachings can be applied to each moment of your daily life.
- Yoga is beyond Stereotypes. Several stereotypes are surrounded by it. However, the reality is that Yoga is – and can be – practiced by all walks of life. It is for all levels, body types, and skin colors. You don’t have to be a vegan, eat only organic, or never drink alcohol again to practice yoga. Any type of person can practice yoga, and every person will benefit from doing so.
- Practicing inversions with elongated, slow breathing regularly can work wonders. Our internal organs are also affected by the passing of time and gravity. We should use inversions to help all our internal organs return to their original place.
The percentage of people practicing yoga increases annually by 20 to 25%. Our intention in this article is to help spread awareness about Yoga and increase the percentage of people practicing Yoga. We hope this article motivates you to start Yoga and lead a healthy and happy life. Only when you believe and work towards your happiness will you find it within you. Take some time out and breathe in these healthy habits and breath out those negative thoughts. A healthy body and a healthy mind are two sides of the same coin.
Parents – Breath In
One of the most beautiful feelings is when your offspring is born and enters your life. The journey from then becomes a road filled with experiences and learnings. Parenting is one such lesson no school, teacher or human can teach. We only learn while we are in it and experience it day by day, time by time. Sometimes we feel exhausted, and sometimes the bliss is unexplainable. All those sleepless nights seem worth it, while the anticipation of how many more still walk with us.
Understanding your child is one of the most important things that one needs to learn as a parent. It is very helpful in becoming effective in guiding and nurturing your child as they grow and mature. You need to bear in mind that your child has a unique personality trait that remains consistent throughout life. Being a responsible parent is hard, especially in this day and age when parents spend more time working rather than being with their kids. Quality time is difficult to achieve when you are trying to juggle your time between corporate life and parenthood. Not many people achieve success in parenthood and this could be frustrating on your part. Understanding your child is one effective way of becoming successful in the art of parenting.
Our aim is to be with you while you’re on this journey. We may not experience the same situations as you or feel the same emotions, and yet we understand you and how parenting can be difficult to Breath in.
One of the ways you can understand your child is by observing them as they sleep, eat, or play. Look for the consistent traits. Which activities do they like best? Is adjusting to changes easy for them or do they need time to become familiar with these things? These things are the normal characteristics of a child and your child may not be an exception.
It’s in every parent’s nature to see his or her children in ways most others don’t. In some cases, wearing rose-colored glasses benefits the self-esteem of parents and kids alike. In others, though, it can foster denial that helps no one. Various studies have proved that children learn more from observing and experiencing the world than by taught words. Responsible parents provide the right examples and behavior to their children to learn from. Instead of saying ‘be polite’, demonstrate politeness by being polite in your everyday life. By understanding your child’s development, you will be able to provide them with opportunities as well as toys that can boost their development and prepare them for the next phase of their growth. At the same time, you as a parent would be able to set expectations and limits that are acceptable to your child.
Children are not pets, that parents put on a leash. They are not trophies or medals that should be showed off to friends, so the latter would feel inferior and less fortunate. The problem is, parents sometimes “exploit” their children by telling everyone in the neighborhood or their circle of friends how lucky they are to have such great kids. To make it worse, some parents become too cocky and fail to realize that they are putting quite a lot of unrealistic expectations on their children. And when their kids do not meet these expectations, they would be so disappointed in them or get mad even because, well, their reputation among their friends would get tainted. They would end up a laughingstock in the Proud Parents Society and, of course, no parent wants that. There is absolutely nothing wrong to be proud of your children, especially if they are doing so well in school, sports or anything they have put their interest in. But, please, parents, be realistic and reasonable. There are a lot of ways to show how proud you are of your children without compromising their reputation, your ego (which you surely take care of so much), and especially your relationship with them. You can just hug your kid and tell him/her how blessed and happy you are to have such great son/daughter. It is better and means a lot more to him/her.
A child’s image of his/her parents depends, among other things, on how the latter sees and treats the former. And being at the front line of a child’s growth and development, there is a great chance that kids will see what their parents do and say as (always) true and correct. If parents will treat children as equals – people who think and move and have a life of their own – and with more consideration to their actual being but still maintaining (and certainly, not abusing) that due parental authority, then the kids will feel more appreciated and secured. In effect, they will admire, respect and love their parents more, and eventually become great parents themselves.
No matter how young a person is, the fact remains that he is a human being – a thinking person. As such, he certainly knows what he wants. A kid may understand less than adults do, but that does not at all mean they do not understand anything. A preschooler knows what he wants to be when he grows up (only that this might more likely change depending on the values and interests he develops and the environment he grows in). A teenager knows whether he likes to take engineering in the best school there is or he wants to pursue his passion for music or photography instead. Even a baby knows when his mother forgets to feed him. Parents should respect their children’s thoughts. It is not because they are younger than adults, who are self-proclaimed mature people, should disregard what the youth have to say. Parents should genuinely listen to and understand their children and not impose on them their own thoughts and values.
In our next series, we shall present with things responsible parents do and things responsible parents do not do. We do not mean to offend the parents, but we aim to support them and help them understand their children.
Let Your Child Breath Out
As we grow older, we get exposed to a lot of factors, different environments and social scripting that have always been there. Whatever becomes of us is a matter of choice depending on which fundamental values and principles we take in for ourselves and the decisions we make based on these. A child’s image of his/her parents depends, among other things, on how the latter sees and treats the former. It’s in every parent’s nature to see his or her children in ways most others don’t. In some cases, wearing rose-colored glasses benefits the self-esteem of parents and kids alike. In others, though, it can foster denial that helps no one.
There is no single cause of parental misperceptions, but one place to start looking, experts agree, is in the mirror. As egocentric creatures, we see the world through the perspective we know best—our own. We have far more information about ourselves than we do about other people, and this influences our assumptions and judgments about the people we interact with every day, our offspring most definitely included.
Various studies have proved that children learn more from observing and experiencing the world than by taught words. Even though most parents try to maintain a balanced lifestyle and set examples for their children, there are chances that the umbrella of protection itself may not be enough to save the child from getting wet in experiences. Children silently observe which we as adults may overlook while trying hard to be the best.
Responsible parents provide the right examples and behavior to their children to learn from, instead of saying “Be polite” they demonstrate Politeness by being polite in their everyday life.
Responsible parents encourage more and criticize less. One of the biggest responsibilities of parents is to instill confidence in their children and this can be achieved by being more encouraging and motivating of the children’s strengths and good qualities. Constant criticism can take them into withdrawal mode and secretiveness, while regular appreciation helps in building strong, confident and positive children. Responsible parents reward good behavior.
Reports have suggested that when it comes to spending time with kids, quality trumps quantity. We all would prefer an hour of peaceful, undistracted, quality time with our loved ones over four hours full of distractions, divided attention and undue arguments. They spend quality time with their kids that helps in developing a deeper bond of love and understanding between the parents and their children.
Responsible parents behave responsibly in front of their children. As responsible individuals, they care for mother nature, be kind to others, practice honesty and are authentic. Encouraging dialogues with the kids have twofold benefits: it makes them feel that they are important to have their opinions heard and it helps them in developing the art of self-expression. Responsible parents listen actively to their kids and set it as the stepping stone to a relevant and useful discussion.
Letting the children take their own decisions helps them in self-discovery and in feeling important. It should begin at a young age but at the same time what decisions are left upon them depends on their age and maturity. Instead of allowing children to decide whatever they want, responsible parents give them choices and let them choose. Slowly as their sense of judgment grows, this array of choice can be widened. Time and again it has been proved that in the end, moral values stand taller than materialistic possessions. Responsible parents place more significance on values like honesty, kindness, compassion and integrity and less on materialistic aspects like grades, competition, expensive things and grooming. They understand that a sound character goes a longer way than a better grade.
Responsible Parents take parenting easily by giving good memories. They do not follow helicopter parenting and nor are they completely lousy parents. They are right there — raising better kids by giving them a happy home to live in. They create good memories for their children that often last a lifetime.
Now let’s shift our focus to what responsible parents do not do. They don’t fake their attention to kids. They are genuine parents and so when they spend time with the kids, they actually do. They do not just pretend to be there physically. They are mindful of their kids’ presence and give undivided attention to their kids.
Responsible parents don’t “act” as great parents. They do not act or pretend. Whatever they are, they are in reality. They do not shower compliments upon their kids in front of others and criticize them when alone and nor they act too goody-goody to gain appreciation from others. They don’t compare their kids with others. They don’t fall into the comparison trap to make their child feel inferior. They believe in the individuality of their kid and stay away from unnecessary comparisons and judgments.
They don’t trust their decisions upon their kids. They treat their kids as individuals and hence do not trust their own choices and decisions upon the kids. They first let their kids choose and then depending upon the choice, decide whether or not to follow the kids’ decisions. Responsible parents don’t stop their kids from voicing their opinions. They value what their kids have to say and let the children have a thinking process of their own. They also do not judge their kids based on their differing opinions.
As much as possible, have time to talk to your children as this is crucial for gaining information and understanding. In the case of young children, they require less verbal language and more facial expression and body language, in order to understand their thoughts and feelings. Asking them questions will allow them to share their feelings with you.
By understanding your child’s development, you will be able to provide them with opportunities as well as toys that can boost their development and prepare them for the next phase of their growth. At the same time, you as a parent would be able to set expectations and limits that are acceptable to your child. Being a responsible parent is hard especially in this day and age when parents spend more time working rather than being with their kids. Quality time is difficult to achieve when you are trying to juggle your time between corporate life and parenthood. Not many people achieve success in parenthood and this could be frustrating on your part. Understanding your child is one effective way of becoming successful in the art of parenting.
Couples Counseling – Where Jack and Rose both Survived
Couples therapists and marriage counselors treat some of the same issues as other psychologists, such as depression and anxiety, substance abuse, and PTSD. But their work focuses on issues that are specific to their target group, the family. You may have heard the phrase, “No man is an island.” That especially rings true when families face trouble. Sometimes even the strongest family unit may need support and guidance in dealing with unexpected circumstances such as illness, death or unemployment. Other times, they may require that same support from an impartial observer in order to manage personal conflicts.
Conflict is a part of relationships. It’s simply that since no two people are exactly the same, you won’t see the world the same way. That’s why there are many, many different couples counseling techniques. Conflict cannot always be avoided in relationships because no two people are exactly alike, so learning how to deal with conflict ensures a successful and healthy union.
Those in romantic relationships and marriages may seek guidance through all stages of their relationship, from dating to engagement to the many years of building a life together. They may need help breaking patterns and forming more positive habits.
Marriage counseling, also called couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy. Marriage counseling helps couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. Through marriage counseling, you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding and strengthening your relationship or going your separate ways. Some couples seek marriage counseling to strengthen their partnership and gain a better understanding of each other. Premarital counseling can help couples achieve a deeper understanding of each other and iron out differences before marriage.
Relationship challenges arise in different ways and being able to communicate with your partner is an integral part of a healthy relationship. Functional communication leads to better understanding between you and your partner. Couples’ counseling is an important tool if those conflicts are starting to jeopardize the relationship as a whole. An occasional argument is probably healthy, but if it’s all the time, it’s a source of stress and unhappiness
Marriage counseling can help couples in all types of intimate relationships — regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. couples seek marriage counseling to improve a troubled relationship.
You can use marriage counseling to help with many specific issues, including:
- Communication problems
- Sexual difficulties
- Conflicts about child rearing or blended families
- Substance abuse
Marriage counseling might also be helpful in cases of domestic abuse. Marriage counseling typically brings couples or partners together for joint therapy sessions. Working with a therapist, you’ll learn skills to solidify your relationship, such as:
- Open communication
- How to discuss differences rationally
Those in romantic relationships and marriages may seek guidance through all stages of their relationship, from dating to engagement to the many years of building a life together. They may need help breaking patterns and forming more positive habits. Making the decision to go to marriage counseling can be tough. If you have a troubled relationship, however, seeking help is more effective than ignoring your problems or hoping they get better on their own. Sometimes taking the first step by admitting the relationship needs help is the hardest part. Most individuals find the experience to be insightful and empowering.
Most of us immediately feel that hesitation when asked about online counseling. We may nod our head, but we know that if we were to go for any sort of mental health services, we suddenly end up “having some work” and delay visiting the specialist.
I know most of you said “that’s so true” in your heads while reading the above line. Online Counseling is a great way to bridge distances and help maintain regular therapeutic sessions. Online therapy overcomes barriers that may preclude others from seeking therapy. For example, individuals residing in rural or remote areas where there are no counseling services can benefit from the accessibility of online counseling. Those that are physically disabled or unable to leave their home can also easily access such services with little inconvenience. Web counseling has also shown to be effective in encouraging children and teenagers to receive therapy as they seem to be more comfortable with using the internet.
For those individuals who are ambivalent about therapy or who may be uncomfortable with traditional models of therapy, may find online counselling more suitable whereby it has been found that online therapy is preferred by those who are uncomfortable with talking face to face with someone about their problems or who are suffering from social phobias, agoraphobia or anxiety disorders.
The absence of face to face contact can also prompt clients to communicate more openly without concerns for the bias of race, gender, age, size or physical appearance.6This may lead to an increased level of honesty and therefore higher validity in the case of self-disclosure. The internet clearly offers a level of anonymity that is perceived by many users as non-threatening through allowing an ‘invisibility’ that can be disinhibiting.
Online counseling may also be effective in eliminating social stigma associated with receiving therapy. For those who are uncomfortable with receiving therapy, online counselling allows access to such services in private without having to visit the counseling center. Counseling can take on a whole different image when executed by the client in their own home through the computer. It may also allow the client to feel less stigmatized without having to be seen by others in the waiting room, the administrative staff or any other person who just happens to be walking past at the time the client walks through the door.
Because of this, online counseling clearly does offer the client a degree of anonymity that may reduce such social stigma and therefore prompt them to seek assistance when they might otherwise have hesitated. Online counseling, in which the mode of communication is often through writing via emails or a chat room, allows both the client and the therapist to pay close attention to their communication and reflect on their thoughts and feelings prior to it being expressed. This may be a particularly suitable way of communication for those clients who experience difficulty expressing themselves in words. Clients may also be able to communicate better in this environment as they are not affected by the therapist’s nonverbal cues.
Research suggests that writing during times of distress is particularly useful for clients as it is considered to provide a vital avenue for emotional healing. Given that online counseling is an interactive form of therapeutic writing, interventions delivered in this environment may be quite effective in encouraging clients to express themselves in more thoughtful, self-reflective and insightful ways. Having a written record also allows the client to have a reference point in future discussion, review and the assessment of change and progress.
People who have an online counselor ultimately feel safe with their therapist. You are able to reveal secrets because you feel a strong sense of anonymity having a relationship with an online therapist. The advantages of using this modality of therapy are that the client is motivated to get to the heart of their matter quickly. This results in faster healing for the client and a more expedient form of therapy for the counselor.