Possible Drawbacks

As you can see, there are many benefits to online counselling.  Here are a few other things to think about to help you decide if online counselling is right for you.

When is Online Therapy Not a Good Idea?

For many people, the benefits of online counselling make it a perfect fit. But it is not suitable for everyone.  For some situations, internet counselling is not appropriate and you would be better served by face-to-face counselling or other resources.  For example:

  • If you are feeling suicidal or dealing with severe mental health issues
  • If you are coping with bi-polar disorder or psychotic experiences
  • If your safety is currently at risk due to domestic violence or other abuse

If You Are in Crisis

Please contact your local crisis and information line.  You can find this number in the emergency number section of the Telus phone book.  Or:

  • For a listing of crisis centres in Canada, click here.
  • For British Columbia, click here.
  • Crisis Centre for Greater Vancouver: 604-872-3311
    • TTY 1-866-872-0113

Or:

  • Just phone 1-800-SUICIDE
  • Call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room for help

Other Resources Available in British Columbia:

Crisis Line Association of BC Mental Health Information Line: Phone 310-6789 (no area code needed)

Crisis Chat Services available in British Columbia:

  • Click here for Online Crisis Service for Adults in BC
  • Click here for Online Chat Service for Youth in BC

Other Support Resources Available in Manitoba:

  • Manitoba 24 hour Suicide Line 1-877-435-7170 (Toll Free)
  • For people on a farm, or in a rural or northern community: click here or call 1-866-367-3276
  • Kids Help Phone available to Manitoba’s youth: 1-800-668-6868

What are the Possible Drawbacks of Online Counselling?

  • One difference between online and face-to-face counselling is that we don’t have the benefit of non-verbal communication cues (for example, facial expressions, body language) to get a deeper understanding of what each of us is feeling, thinking, or saying.  This is why I use and encourage a variety of more descriptive written techniques to help us communicate. I’ll share more about these techniques with you when you begin counselling.
  • You may experience strong emotions without having your counsellor present in the moment to help you through this.  I will have some suggestions for helping you prepare for this possibility in our first communication.
  • It’s impossible to know that your counsellor is spending the full hour on her reply to you. And so our work together is based on the honour system. I do, however, guarantee that I will spend a full hour on my reply to you.  If for some reason, I feel that my response does not require a full hour, I will refund the partial fee accordingly.
  • Not having to schedule appointments can be very convenient for most people, but without the commitment of an appointment, it can sometimes be easy to procrastinate or get busy and not get around to it. So, you may want to think in advance about how you can make a commitment to yourself.

What are the Possible Risks of Counselling in General (whether in-person or online)?

Whether online or in-person, counselling can have both benefits and risks. It can lead to changes in self-awareness, and different ways of relating to others. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable or strong feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness, or difficult memories. On the other hand, counselling has also been shown to have benefits for many people who go through it. Counselling often leads to increased self-awareness, gaining personal insights, learning new ways to cope with or solve problems, developing new skills, better relationships, changing unwanted behaviours, and significant reductions in feelings of distress. But there are no guarantees of what you will experience. Sometimes counselling can be hard, but it can also be very rewarding.