Online Substance Abuse Counseling
Many people are unaware of the existence of online substance abuse counseling. Face-to-face psychotherapy is still the most strongly recommended form of counseling for substance abuse, but thanks to the many advancements in electronic media, online counseling programs are becoming more widely available, and they can be very effective in their own ways.
Whatever your situation, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to receive substance abuse counseling. Whether for personal, financial, or other reasons, if you are unable or unwilling to receive face-to-face therapy, you should consider an online counseling program as an alternative.
What Happens in an Online Counseling Program?
It can vary from one counselor to the next, but an online counseling program usually includes many of the same services a patient would receive from a therapist in person. Also, counselors can generally address the same issues as any other practicing therapist. The difference is in how the therapy is presented, and how the patient and counselor interact with each other.
Thanks to the ever-growing and constantly changing nature of the Internet, new and improved methods of communication are always surfacing. Online substance abuse counseling can happen through email, instant messaging, and online voice or video chatting. Counseling can be a one-time, single-question deal, or it can be ongoing. This will depend on the nature of the substance abuse issue, and on the needs of the patient and the counselor.
Whatever the method, the idea is the same: in an online counseling program for a substance abuse problem, a counselor or therapist is there to provide information, support, and advice to the patient.
What are the Benefits of Online Substance Abuse Counseling?
It usually takes a back seat to face-to-face therapy, but online substance abuse counseling has its own advantages.
It’s cheaper. Many online counselors charge a small fee, but those costs are often much lower than what you would pay for traditional, in-person therapy.
It’s comfortable. With online substance abuse counseling, patients are able to remain in their own homes while receiving support. Some people may be turned off by the idea of going to an office and discussing their problems with a stranger. Being in control of their surroundings may encourage people to ask for the help they need.
It’s convenient. With an online counseling program, you generally do not have a set appointment time. Depending on your counselor’s rules, schedule, and caseload, counseling doesn’t have to always take place at the same time and last a certain number of hours. With email discussions, especially, you can take time to think about and plan your questions and answers, and you can send your message when it’s convenient for you.
What are the Drawbacks to an Online Counseling Program?
Admittedly, some of the benefits of online substance abuse counseling can also be drawbacks, and vice versa. It all depends on the wants and needs of the patient.
Feedback may be slow. Though you can’t beat the convenience on your end, your counselor may not be on the same schedule as you are. Without appointments, your counselor is not bound to your time constraints, so any feedback or answers to emails may be slow.
It’s impersonal. This may be a benefit for people who are shy or who aren’t ready to discuss their substance abuse in person, but for others, it may prove to be an issue. The Internet is very impersonal by nature, and without meeting face-to-face, there will always be that wall between you and your counselor.
It’s not a substitute for traditional therapy. This ties in with the issue of impersonality. Online substance abuse counseling should not be seen as an alternative to traditional psychotherapy. Though it is an excellent way to receive support and advice for your substance abuse, it simply cannot be compared to the effectiveness of in-person psychotherapy.
Online Substance Abuse Counseling May be Right for You
As with any kind of substance abuse treatment, deciding whether an online counseling program is right for you should be a personal decision. It’s important to weight the pros and cons against your own needs and wants for therapy. For some people, financial or physical issues make them unable to seek traditional psychotherapy, and the decision is made for them. For others, it may simply be a matter of the ease and comfort of online counseling that draws them in. Whatever the case, online counseling is becoming much more accessible. If you have a substance abuse problem and would like to explore your treatment options, online substance abuse counseling may be a great place to start.