COVID-19 has substantially changed our lifestyles around the utilisation of streaming online services. Never before in history has the human race been so connected.
Yet in so many circumstances we find ourselves alone and consuming streams of unvetted information and misinformation often perpetuated by people that are in our friends and family circles.
Adjusting to the new normal is quite an overwhelming undertaking and along with the the flow of change therapy moves online too.
While hardly a new concept, therapy over the internet is rapidly becoming a big part of the “new normal”.
Also known as “telehealth” services, therapy sessions conducted over skype, zoom and Whatsapp for many remote patients world wide.
Online counselling or therapy is much the same as in-person counselling.
The concept is not new to our counselling team in that manages outpatient programmes for 70% of the patients that have been through our treatment centre originate from overseas countries or from upcountry in South Africa. Logistically and practically we would not be able to help so many people without video conferencing services also known as tele counselling, which is the same as face-to-face counselling through video conferencing technology like zoom, skype, Whatsapp video etc.
Telemedicine or “telehealth” or “e-health” has been the go-to form of treatment in the United States and the United Kingdom for the last decade as it enables health care professionals to evaluate, help and treat patients in many remote locations.
So why is Online Counselling in South Africa Becoming So Popular?
Since the start of COVID-19 lockdown, we have seen an explosion in the demand for online counselling from South Africa. This is a substantial shift from the way South African’s prefer to traditionally prefer to receive therapy in person.
Cape Town hosts some of South Africa’s leading hubs for psychology and is thus home to many of South Africa’s leading mental health professionals. The cost of one-on-one per session treatment in South Africa is substantially lower than many countries across in the world with their currencies against the South African rand.
Psychologists and therapists that operate inside of multidisciplinary teams are substantially more effective in resolving mental health and psychological issues because they participate in peer support. This means that in each session patients get the collective experience of the entire counselling team.
Recovery Directs an individualised process for treatment supports an assessment of needs, a formal treatment plan, individual and group support, updates to your treatment plan and a continued support structure specifically geared around patients as individuals wherever they may be.
Finding Therapists and Counsellors Online
There are many services that are available online that provide access to online counsellors and therapy for mental health-related issues. Selecting a service that is right for you can be difficult in that making the initial decisions comes with a great deal of uncertainty that Shaun and Leisha unpack in the video below.
Therapists Online Therapists
Many people are not open to the concept of internet counselling or doing their psychotherapy online because they think it may lose the personal interactions that are so important to the process.
Online counselling works just as well if the therapist is skilled in managing the online session just as effectively as they would in an offline session. The objective is always to listen and to provide the patient with mediated though processes that challenge “disorders thinking” patterns. Thereafter the patient connects the dot’s and has the breakthroughs in their own lives.
Most of these transformative realisations in both offline and online therapy only ever happen outside of the therapy session and back in the stream of your own life. The conversation with the offline or online therapist is merely a thought mediation process that is led by you through the session and is designed to be a platform for your own breakthroughs.