How To Perform Your Online Counseling Therapy Sessions

Online Counseling

Online counseling has been around for a while, but it’s fast becoming more popular than it ever has been with clients and practitioners alike.

With plenty of research supporting its efficacy, convenience, and potential for engagement, we created this online guide to help you move your counseling practice online. Read on to discover how you can become an online counselor and why it’s a brilliant idea.

Before getting started, we thought you’d enjoy trying Quenza’s $1, 30-day trial. Our easy-to-use online counseling software will help you improve your clients’ wellbeing digitally, and contains everything you need to craft engaging, effective, and custom-branded digital treatments easily.

What is Online Counseling?

Online counseling is an alternative to traditional face-to-face counseling, and quite simply the provision of professional counseling using digital tools and channels.

It can take place through:

Also known as online therapy, e-therapy, or remote therapy, it is fast becoming a popular way for patients to access psychological support for mental health challenges, and research has shown it to be effective in the treatment of conditions such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety.[1]

Online Counseling vs Face-To-Face

The fundamental difference between face-to-face and online counseling is that the former takes place in person, while in the latter, a client interacts with their counselor through the internet.

The fundamental difference between face-to-face and online counseling is that the former takes place in person, while in the latter, a client interacts with their counselor through the internet.

Rather than physically attending a dedicated office, clients may call or video chat with their practitioner during regular counseling sessions, and a counselor will typically share relevant therapy tools or exercises for them to complete on their own.

Where in-person approaches are used alongside an online counseling app or platform, the combination of the two is referred to as blended counseling.

Just like e-therapy, digital counseling using evidence-based tools and interventions (such as iCBT) can be as effective as working with a therapist face to face.[2]

Is It Effective? 5 Benefits According To Research

As telemental health has grown more popular, so has the research into its efficacy.

The vast majority of research into online counseling has focused on the use of online cognitive-behavioral therapy (iCBT), a psychological framework that is commonly used in counseling.

To date, there is considerable evidence that:

  • iCBT is at least as effective as in-person CBT, with researchers recommending iCBT be offered if it is preferred by clients and therapists.[2]
  • iCBT can allow patients to receive treatment for many different psychiatric conditions at a lower cost than conventional CBT.[3]
  • Along with Cognitive Processing Therapy, online CBT can significantly reduce the symptoms of PTSD in those with the condition.[4]
  • Online CBT has been linked with significant improvement in the symptoms of those with social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, depression, compulsive gambling disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.[5]

E-counseling also has a range of practical benefits for clients and practitioners alike.

According to studies, it’s both convenient and often more cost-effective than traditional counseling with a therapist.

Counseling online means:

  1. Counselors can treat clients without the costs of a brick-and-mortar practice, allowing them to offer more affordable sessions
  2. Clients and therapists can work on a convenient schedule, such as outside of traditional working hours
  3. Clients can access help from a wider network of global practitioners
  4. Mobility-challenged clients can benefit from counseling without traveling great distances, and
  5. Practitioners have a wide range of ways to build client engagement outside of designated sessions, e.g. using videos, exercises, worksheets, and quizzes.

How To Perform Online Counseling Sessions

Online sessions can be very much like conventional face-to-face sessions, albeit with teletherapy software such as a videoconferencing client or instant messaging for your interactions.

Rather than sitting in an office with your client, your conversations will take place digitally in real-time using a webcam and/or microphone, and most counselors will also send activities for their clients to complete between sessions.

These allow counseling clients to deepen their learning by applying the skills that they learn in sessions without the support of a therapist, in a real-world environment.

We’ve written a complete guide to the Do’s and Don’ts of online therapy here: Online Therapy Platforms & Games for Powerful Sessions.

3 Online Therapy Activities & Games

Among the biggest advantages of online counseling and therapy is the fact that professionals can use digital activities to build client rapport and engagement.

Quenza Online Counseling Doors Closed Doors Open
Quenza’s interactive activities, like the Doors Closed Doors Open Expansion Activity (pictured), can be an effective way to build client engagement by assigning online counseling homework.

Here’s a small sample of engaging online therapy activities and games that you’ll find in Quenza, which fit the bill perfectly:

  • Applying the Yin and Yang of Self-Compassion: If you’re working with clients who struggle with self-critical thoughts, this activity teaches them two strategies that embody two different sides of self-compassion. With diagrams, graphic frameworks, and self-reflection prompts, it’s easily modified to suit different clients.
  • Learning To Say No: For counselors who help clients live in line with their values, Learning To Say No is a beautiful online therapy tool that imparts useful life skills to clients. This exercise takes them through an exploration of their values then covers several angles to saying ‘no’ without saying ‘no’.
  • Finding Your Ikigai: This exercise involves clients in self-reflection, to help them identify where their passions and talents converge with what others need and are willing to pay for. Clients can complete this activity online or print a PDF with a four-circle Ikigai chart diagram, pictured below.
Quenza Online Counseling App Ikigai Activity
Quenza Expansions such as Finding Your Ikigai (pictured) can be customized with your unique multimedia uploads or text before your counseling activities are shared with clients.

To deliver online counseling effectively, it’s essential that your software allows you to connect with clients and share your counseling tools.

Quenza can not only help you offer critical communication touch points throughout your counseling journeys but it also enables you to easily design activities and share them under your practice brand, so you can counsel clients outside of sessions.

In a nutshell, you can use Quenza to:

  1. Create digital counseling activities from any hard-copy templates you might already be using, or from pre-made Expansions
  2. Share them with clients efficiently as standalone resources or as part of a pathway
  3. Automate your clients’ journeys so that they receive their online counseling activities according to a plan that suits you and them, and
  4. Monitor and evaluate your clients’ progress as they go, amending their resources or offering feedback quickly and conveniently.

How To Use Quenza: Guideline For Psychologists

Creating personalized activities for clients is simple and efficient with Quenza’s drag and drop Activity Builder, your one-stop shop for creating worksheets, assessments, handouts, and other counseling resources from blank templates.

Simply head to your Activity Builder to start selecting fields that you’d like to include in your resources, as shown below:

Quenza Online Counseling Activities
Quenza’s Activity Builder helps you create unique, personalized online counseling resources using pre-made fields and blank templates.

Your Activity Builder supports multimedia uploads such as videos, images, and audio guides, meaning that creating an original or niche-specific is easy with your own YouTube or mp3 files.

It’s also where you can customize Expansion Library templates to create individualized counseling tools from popular evidence-based exercises – like the three tools we’ve already mentioned.

When you’re ready to share your solutions or assessments with clients, you can curate them into a program using Quenza’s easy-to-use Pathway Builder, as pictured:

Quenza Online Counseling Psychologist Pathway Example
Quenza’s Creating a Positive Body Image activity is a Pathway Expansion made of separate counseling activities as ‘steps.’ You can use Quenza’s Pathway Tools to automatically deliver your clients’ resources with your own Pathways.

Quenza’s Pathway Builder is ideal for whenever you’d like to schedule your counseling activities or treatment plan in advance, by helping you share each exercise automatically after a specific interval of your choice.

To learn more about creating and sharing counseling solutions with your clients, check out our guide to Tools For Therapists: How To Effortlessly Create Activities.

7 Unique Tools in the Quenza Platform

Quenza’s tools have been carefully developed to help you deliver unique, evidence-based tools and evaluate their impact for the best possible client outcomes.

Some of the unique tools you’ll find in your Dashboard include:

  1. A drag-and-drop Activity Builder: Containing pre-made fields like text boxes, page breaks, and sliding scales to create therapy worksheets, assessments, note templates, and more
  2. Pathway Tools: Allowing you to sequence your resources into care pathways, psychoeducational courses, or therapy programs – and automate their delivery
  3. An Expansion Library: Equipped with popular therapy and coaching activities that you can customize for sharing with your clients
  4. Real-time Results Tracking: So that you can evaluate your clients’ progress
  5. Quenza Chat: HIPAA-compliant instant messaging that you can use to communicate with groups or teams, answering questions, or giving feedback
  6. A free client app: Compatible with Android and Apple devices, Quenza’s client app centralizes all your clients’ resources in one handy platform and notifies them when they receive Activities, and
  7. The Wheel of Life feature: A one-of-a-kind therapy tool that helps you create custom self-assessments such as Life Domain Satisfaction Scales.

Final Thoughts

Online counseling hasn’t just proven itself effective, but it’s growing ever more popular by the minute with clients.

Use this guide to take your counseling services online, and you’ll be able to deliver your own therapy tools effortlessly to help others achieve their mental health goals.

If you’d like to offer professional online counseling yourself, don’t forget to start Quenza’s 30-day trial for practitioners.

Quenza’s blended therapy is uniquely designed to help you deliver high-quality mental health solutions to your clients digitally, and will give you all the tools you need to craft effective, practice-branded therapy tools of your own.

References

  1. ^ Palylyk-Colwell, E., & Argáez, C. (2018). Telehealth for the Assessment and Treatment of Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Anxiety: Clinical Evidence. Ottawa: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.
  2. ^ Luo, C., Sanger, N., Singhal, N., Pattrick, K., Shams, I., Shahid, H., & Samaan, Z. (2020). A comparison of electronically-delivered and face to face cognitive behavioural therapies in depressive disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine, 24, 100442.
  3. ^ Gratzer, D., & Khalid-Khan, F. (2016). Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy in the treatment of psychiatric illness. CMAJ, 188(4), 263-272.
  4. ^ Turgoose, D., Ashwick, R., & Murphy, D. (2018). Systematic review of lessons learned from delivering tele-therapy to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 24, 575-585.
  5. ^ Andersson, G., Rozental, A., Shafran, R., & Carlbring, P. (2018). Long-term effects of internet-supported cognitive behaviour therapy. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 18(1), 21-28.

About the author

Catherine specializes in Organizational and Positive Psychology, helping entrepreneurs, clinical psychologists and OD specialists grow their businesses by simplifying their digital journeys.

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