With the boom of technology in the past several decades has come a greater ease in the way we go about many of our daily tasks.
Now we can order groceries online, connect with and video call friends and family from halfway across the world, play games, read the latest news, and even address our health online and through telehealth and phone apps.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is upon us, this last technological advancement in particular is especially valuable.
Even while we may not be able to easily visit various counselors, doctors, and therapists in person, it is still important to prioritize our health.
Various types of therapy and counseling sites are available online so that you can address your concerns just about anywhere. Understanding how they differ and function can help you take control of your mental health from the comfort of your home.
Types of Online Counseling Sites
Online counseling sites can vary in terms of their magnitude, and services offered. Below are some of the most popular types of counseling sites as well as a brief description of what benefits you might expect to experience.
- Mental Health Counseling. Whether you’re seeking counseling for anxiety, depression alongside other mental illnesses (or simply want to learn more about your emotions), online therapy providers, such as MyTherapist, can be a great alternative to in-person therapy. Not only do they tend to be cheaper, they are also more flexible in scheduling and offer therapy from licensed professionals.
- Marriage and Relationship Counseling. Almost any relationship can benefit from mediation from time to time. Whether or not you and your partner experience frequent conflict, relationship counseling can help you to become better communicators and get closer as a couple.
- Music or Art Therapy. Researchers have noted the numerous benefits to incorporating music and art into our lives. It has even been shown to improve memory for dementia patients and aid in speech for speech pathology patients. Art or music therapy may be right for you or someone you love, especially during stressful periods throughout life; and yes, you can even access these benefits online.
- Physical Therapy. While it may sound counterintuitive to attend physical therapy online, it can be an ideal alternative for those healing from a physical injury or working on improving chronic pain. Depending on your needs, your physical therapist may be able to guide you through exercises over a video call – this way, you don’t even need to worry about getting to the office.
No matter what type of counseling or therapy you seek, it is likely that there is an option available online.
If you choose to use a counseling website, you will generally attend your meetings online, often through a video call where you can speak face to face with your therapist or counselor.
However, many practices also offer the ability to phone call or text message with your counselor.
Many of these sessions are priced by the week or month, and offer a number of different price points at different rates depending on how often you would like to attend.
What Makes a Counseling Site Work?
Regardless of the type of counseling or therapy you seek online, the search is moot if you do not know that they can help you or cannot figure out how to reach them through their website.
This is why it is important to have a website that works. Any counseling site should offer comprehensive, easy-to-understand information and successfully communicate its goals to the reader.
Here are some components that tend to make online counseling websites effective:
- Attention grabbing hero image. The large banner image that is on the homepage of a website, or the hero image, is essential to grab the viewer’s attention and give them the gist of what the service may be like.
- Clear copy stating focus of counseling. From the first moment they see the website, the viewer should know what kind of counseling or therapy is offered. This way they can immediately decide if this is the right counselor for them.
- Easy to use navigation. A website is impossible to use if the user does not know where certain information is located. Clearly labelled drop down menus with sub categories of information can help users navigate the site to locate the specific information they need.
- Clear ways to contact the practice. Many therapy websites will often lose clients if those clients are not able to find a way to contact the office after visiting the website. Users may need to contact the office to book appointments or to ask for information that is not available on the website. It is important to have a phone number, email address, and street address if applicable easy to spot on the website.
- Counselor and therapist bios and headshots. Seeking counseling or therapy is a vulnerable experience and users often like to know more about who will be administering their session. Easy access to counselor’s background information and even what they look like may make a user more comfortable becoming a client.
- Design that makes the viewer feel safe and secure. It is important for a therapy website to invite the user in while also making them feel comfortable. The website design should never feel aggressive or unsafe.
Effective web design is just as necessary to a therapist’s office as the counseling they provide, especially if it’s provided online. As a user, looking out for good web design can be the first key to knowing the quality of counseling they will provide.
Online counseling sites are diverse, but they all largely function the same way that their in-person counterparts do; instead of conducting services through an office, though, these services allow patients to connect with professionals from just about anywhere.
Choosing a site that’s appropriate for your goals and your standards is always important to ensure that the care you receive is the best it can be.