Free Press Journal

Entering the world of online counselling


Decoding what goes on within the human mind is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially when it is suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental issues. Disha Prashant takes you in a parallel world of online counselling, which is striving towards changing the face of counselling psychology in the world

Understanding the concept

The term counselling is not novel in today’s world thanks to the rising awareness towards mental health issues and the research conducted in this arena. Here we dive into an au courant avenue of counselling psychology prominently known as “online counselling”. Online counselling is widely practiced in other countries and is gradually making its presence feel in India. Also known as e-therapy or teletherapy, people are yet to delve into the depths of this concept and its implications on people.

An unending debate

One of the most complicated and an unresolved mystery of the world is to figure out as to what exactly goes on within a human mind and its effect on our day to day life. Psychology as a research topic has endless mediums to explore new avenues about a human mind and its way of functioning. However, rapid changes in the field of technology and development has brought with it multifarious changes in the field of psychotherapies. What was earlier confined to “narrate your story while lying on the couch” has taken a digitized countenance in the form of online counselling. This has also paved way for scads of debate between traditional counselling and online counselling.

“The need to observe and understand the conflict going on inside a patient’s mind is important and is possible through face to face counselling,” says counselling psychologist Chandan Raj Shekhawat. “As a counsellor, I do not defy the idea of online counselling however it is equally important and mandatory to interact with the person and understand his or her problem in detail. It is only when you are able to elaborate on the conflict, based on which the therapy can be decided. Psychotherapies are decided depending upon the level of the issue faced by the patient. In an online counselling session you are unsure as to whether the patient is sharing every single detail with you. The lack of proper eye to eye contact with the person gives him or her the leverage of manipulating their story eventually breaking the therapy.”

Highlighting the cons she says, “It is important to strike a balance between online counselling and traditional counselling so as to choose an apt therapy for the patient. It is undoubtedly a time saving medium of counselling however is yet to find a concrete base in the world of psychotherapies.”

How does it work?

“No two fingers are alike and that is exactly what makes one human different from another,” says Dr Ajay Phadke, Founder, Type-A-Thought. “Online counselling is a novel concept, however the rising awareness about mental health issues has helped in building the foundation for online counselling. We have a set pattern where the patient has to write some tests on the basis of which we try to analyze the problem. We are a group of qualified psychologists who offer counselling in the form of text or video based and have therapies like REBT, CEBT and so on. An individual needs to undergo twelve sessions of the therapy based on different modems and levels where in we understand the complexity of the issue and accordingly provide therapy. In a country where people are still under the stigma of visiting a counsellor, online counselling is doing its level best to help maintain the anonymity of the patient.”

Explaining the difference of effect between traditional counselling and teletherapy on a patient he says, “Online counselling does not give you the visual cues which you can analyze in traditional counselling. Here we ask series of questions to the patient and categorize his problem and accordingly channelize to the concerned therapist. We get a lot of calls from people across the world who need counselling for varied reasons and help them to find solutions to their issues through different therapies.”

Decoding “BOT”

The world of psychology is leaving no stone unturned to make their presence feel in the world of digitization and hence has been experimenting with neoteric technologies to help people overcome issues associated with mental health.

Giving insights on the changing face of psychotherapies Davesh Manocha, co-founder, Juno Clinic says, “We are working towards increasing awareness with regards to counselling and explaining in detail the importance of this medium of counselling. Online counselling is quite strong on the international platform for they put to use test batteries which diagnose the problem of a patient. On a scale of 1 to 10 the patient is categorized into moderate, medium and high respectively. People are a bit hesitant initially however gradually open up and share their issues. With consistent research and development in this arena the time is not too far when we will be using technological medians like an internet BOT to help people find solutions.”

Explaining the use of internet BOTS he says, “BOTS are basically internet pods with a special software application which helps store information which run automated tasks on the internet. In case where therapists are not available online and if a patient needs help, these pods are here to help. Therapists can feed the patient details and the psychotherapy use in these pods which will automatically provide solutions to the patient. This technology is still in experimental stages and is being put to practice on a small scale.”

Beware of the trap

The primary highlight of online counselling is that the privacy of the patient remains undisturbed, however with pros also comes the cons. “There are numerous websites online which claim to be certified websites offering therapeutic help for mental health issues. The web gives you the opportunity to build websites however it is important to study and accordingly approach. A certified counselling website will have all details associated with therapists which includes their medical qualifications, work experience, specializations in therapies and the years of experience in this field. If it an authentic website they shall provide you all the details and hence it is important to study them in detail. Refrain from falling for fake websites and avoid revealing crucial information for it might just complicate the issue further,” says Dr.Ajay Phadke.

Alls well that ends well

Counselling is not just about anxiety or depression but also about anger management, low motivation, relationship issues or just lending a listening ear. Therapists have opined that it is important to break the taboo that one need not be crazy to visit a counsellor. Despite the cons, online counselling today is helping people across the world overcome their issues and lead a better life. It is time to explore this part of the world of psychology for now rescue is just a few clicks away.