There have been studies which have concluded that online counselling when delivered using SKYPE and combined with cognitive behaviour therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy can be effective for a number of clinical issues.
A significant advantage of counselling online is accessibility – support is available for those in remote areas and those who may have difficulty attending a clinic of offices. Online counselling has also been shown to be effective for teenagers and young adults who are open to new technology and thus may be open to seeking support through this method.
Online therapy is also very convenient, the issues around scheduling and setting appointment is largely removed. Online counselling may be appropriate for some clients where there may be a stigma around seeking support such as may be the case with certain cultural issues. And the degree of anonymity afforded through online counselling can prompt clients to communicate more freely and openly than they may have through face-to-face counselling.
There are some disadvantages. The main one being the loss of face-to-face contact where the counsellor can see the client’s body language and other non-verbal signs which assist the counsellor in learning what is happening for the client at the moment. Developing rapport between counsellor and client is important to helping the client, and in some cases it can be more difficult to establish that rapport through online counselling. However, our experience is rapport and trust can be developed through SKYPE counselling leading to a very therapeutic client/therapist relationship.