Therapists are therapists whether they attend clients online or meet them in face to face sessions. Except for the mode of counselling there is no difference functionally between an online therapist and the therapist that you visit at their offices. This is true to a great extent but yet there are some differences between the two that will be discussed in this post. Since the purpose of visiting a therapist is to seek psychological counselling, as long as therapists have the required qualification and experience, they can listen to the problems and advice solutions. Before you choose a therapist for online counselling, make sure that you check the qualifications. This would place the online therapist at par with theirreal world counterparts.
Do background check
Since online sessions are prone to impersonation and frauds, it is important to check the credentials of therapists carefully before soliciting their advice. Counsellors or therapists can have a variety of qualifications, training and varied experience that is difficult to benchmark. Online counsellors can be located in foreign countries also and little might be known about their background and credibility except for what is declared on their websites. And we all know how deceptive websites can be. To avoid confusion it is better to look for local therapists, even for online counselling, so that their licence indicates some amount of reliability. If you happen to obtain some referrals from friends and acquaintances for your chosen therapist, it would be the icing on the cake.
Special skill sets are needed
Besides being qualified as therapist, online therapists need to have adequate technological skills to handle the electronic media with confidence. This is a major difference that online therapists have with the therapists of the real world. Only tech savvy therapists can do complete justice to the use of online facility for counselling. They should be at ease in using Skype, E mail, video conferencing and Chat facilities. But this is not enough unless the therapist is able to communicate effectively through these media. They should have language skills in texting so that they can convey the message effectively and should also be able to make clients feel comfortable during the interaction. This is quite a difficult task and needs some special training to hone the skills.
The same entity
Although online counselling needs special skills it is not necessary that those who offer the services have to be restricted to it only. Having the basic qualifications, and licence enable therapists to ply their trade in whichever way they like. It is for the convenience of clients that therapists choose online counselling that is yet to gain the confidence of psychologists. Thus it is possible that traditional therapists can double up as online therapists and vice versa.
To sum up, it may be said that online therapists and traditional therapists are the two sides of the same coin. Minor differences are there but at the core they are one and the same as far as the functionalities are concerned.