The global COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all to adapt new ways of being in the world to stem the tide of infection. We are having to rethink and develop new strategies around daily routines we have taken for granted. The way we work, play and interact have changed dramatically and we have had to find ways to obtain the necessities of life despite the threat of contracting the virus. We at Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback are also adapting the way we offer services.
While communicating through a telephone or screen is not the ideal method of interaction for many, since the coronavirus outbreak, this adaptation has been necessary to maintain social connections and access services. For others, the convenience of having a therapy session online without having to leave home has become preferable to in-office sessions.
As you consider which mode of counselling is for you, it may interest you to find that online counselling has been around for quite some time, is private and secure, effective, and your insurance will likely subsidize it.
History of Distance Counselling
Distance counselling has been around for decades and while some trace the inception of online therapy back to the days the internet became accessible to the public, people have been communicating with their therapists over the telephone well into the 1960s. In recent years, therapists have been using technology as a means of service delivery for people who find it difficult or impossible to get to the office. For clients with physical mobility issues, those with fears and phobias which make it difficult to leave their homes, people who live in remote communities, and those with very busy schedules, the ability to communicate with a counsellor from their homes or offices is often the difference between getting help or continuing to suffer.
Is this counselling method private?
We at Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback take client privacy very seriously. We offer online counselling via an encrypted videoconferencing platform which complies with the Canadian standards for the protection of privacy (PHIPA and PIPEDA). This platform does not store client health information. The encrypted video feed used passes directly between client and therapist and does not require that it pass through a server.
Sojourn therapists ensure the room from which they conduct the session is private and may use earphones to further increase privacy. During your session, we recommend you connect with us from a quiet, private room with a closable and preferably lockable door, from which it would be difficult for passers-by to overhear. It is also recommended that you play music or white noise outside the room you use to further muffle sound from our conversation.
Is online counselling effective?
With growing interest in methods that make counselling more accessible, research groups have been studying the efficacy of online and distance therapy. A study from the University of Zurich found that online therapy was as effective as face-to-face treatment, both methods showing significant symptom decrease. Another study from 2009 showed that therapy delivered online effectively reduced depression scores. This study examined all previous studies of the effectiveness of online therapy and found it to be just as effective as face-to-face therapy. It appears that it is just as effective to see a therapist over the internet as it is to see one in the office.
Will my insurance provider cover online therapy?
Many insurance companies are approving sessions delivered by remote methods such as via videoconferencing platforms and telephone. Amoung these are the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), WorkSafe BC, and Crime Victims BC. If you are unsure whether your heath insurance company will reimburse you for your online or telephone counselling sessions, please consult your provider.
What about neurofeedback?
We have solutions for clients wishing to do neurofeedback who are unable get to the office or would rather train from home. Check out our home neurofeedback options.
Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback provides counselling online and via telephone to people throughout British Columbia from our offices in Cloverdale, Surrey. Book your first session today!