What can I do to make online counselling work for me?

"Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination and dedication. Remember, all things are possible for those who believe."

- Gail Devers

Therapy can be a life-changing experience, and it's important to choose a therapist who suits you and whom you're able to work well with. Online therapy generally follows the same process of communication between you and your therapist, but that communication can look rather different and often more like the electronic day-to-day communication you have with friends, family and other people you know online. Whichever form of therapy you choose - online or offline - it's important you understand that the process requires a certain amount of effort from you as the client.

Sometimes, the effort can be upsetting or uncomfortable. But rest assured - your trained therapist is there to help you get through the harder parts of the work while supporting and encouraging you. They're also there to help you understand yourself and why life is proving to be particularly difficult for you at the moment. It's worth remembering that the more work you put into therapy, the more you're likely to get out of it. But it's particularly worth remembering that the therapist cannot do the hard work for you!

In online work, and whether working through text (email, instant-message), audio (using your computer to talk to the therapist), or video (both seeing and hearing your therapist through your computer), the communication between you and your therapist is extremely important. You're expected to be honest about what you’re going through, and honest about the emotions and distress it causes you, and to turn up for live appointments as scheduled, or respond to emails from the therapist as agreed with them.

Read the quote above from Gail Devers again. If you've chosen therapy, you have chosen to make your life better and easier to live. Therapy can help you keep your dreams alive and help you believe in yourself. It can help you have a vision of the person you want to be and the sort of people you want to surround yourself with. But let’s have another look at what the quote is saying.

Therapy is generally very satisfying to undertake, in that you find answers and solutions to problems you have. You should not expect these answers or solutions to come from your therapist, since therapy is not magic. Your therapist cannot wave a wand to make problems go away.

If you choose online counselling, you're likely to find it more convenient and flexible than seeing an offline counsellor once a week. But being more convenient and more flexible does not make it easier than with an in-room therapist. Approach online therapy seriously and take it seriously once you've begun. You will find it much more fulfilling - and also much more effective - if you give it your all!

Dr. Kate Anthony, FBACP

CEO of Online Therapy Institute

What is your current challenge?