Online Versus In-person Counselling - Which is Best?

Choosing Between Online Counselling and Traditional Counselling

Online counselling is the modern-day alternative to in-person counselling. However, the question is whether one method of counselling is better than the other – and even before that, if there exists a difference between the two at all? After all, counselling is often understood as a conversation between a client and mental health practitioner, so how many different forms can such a seemingly simple technique take? And the answer is – many. Therapy can take many shapes and forms based on patient preference, counselling style of the practitioner, the mental health issue requiring attention, and medium of conducting the counselling session. Therefore, let us establish that counselling is far from monotonous.


The Best Online Counselling, best online counselling for depression, best online counseling for anxiety or the best online counselling for stress or other mental health issues will be those that suit you best. It is all about you and what seems to be helping your own mental health. Always remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to mental health solutions. There is an array of options on offer, but only you can know what the best one for you will be. It is a major achievement to admit to yourself that you need help with your mental health.

However, picking the right line of treatment can be difficult. You may not know where to begin, even if you have decided to seek help. Most people find it almost impossible to pick between online counselling and in-person counselling.

To some, the decision is instinctive and one of the choices sounds like the obvious choice. Conversely, other people might find it confusing to decide between online counselling or in-person counselling. There is no doubt about the fact that the choice can be daunting for all, which is why it is important to tackle all sides of the argument, understand the pros and cons of each medium of counselling, weigh the advantages and disadvantages against one another, and only then reach an informed conclusion. After all, there are upsides and downsides to both.


First of all, it is important to establish the broad definitions of the two. In-person counselling is a form of therapy, which takes place in a medical practitioner’s office and involves face to face interaction. On the other hand, online counselling is carried out by electronic means such as telephones, video chat, or instant messaging.

There are many differences between the experience of online counselling or receiving counselling in-person, even though it may seem like there is no difference between the two because therapy is therapy. While that is true and all forms of counselling aim to help alleviate mental health issues, there are differences in how they try to achieve that. Some of the primary differences involve cost and affordability, non-verbal cues and body language, convenience of client and counsellor, privacy as well as effectiveness.


Online Counselling

Many individuals prefer online counselling over in-person counselling, especially because of how much more convenient it can be. In addition, online counselling tends to be much less time consuming than in-person counselling. Instead of having to drive to a faraway clinic for each and every short or long counselling session, clients need only to have an electronic device available in order to log on to a website or mobile phone application – without having to make long journeys across town or spending eons being stuck in traffic.

Several online counsellors or mental health professionals offer flexibility for the times when clients can book in sessions with them, which makes scheduling much easier than rigidly set times at clinics. Therefore, online counselling might make it easier for clients to fit in a session in their day and encourage more and more people to sign up to book in therapy sessions.

Clients may worry about privacy when seeking help for their mental health, be it through any medium. Most online counselling platforms offer the option to use a pseudonym or to not use your name at all.

Takalam Online Counselling gives you the option of connecting with your therapist or counsellor by remaining completely anonymous, which might put you at greater ease and encourage you to seek the help you need to improve your mental health. Subsequently, online counselling might be the better choice in a crisis or emergency situation, when you cannot wait to attend a counselling session or do not have the time to go through the process of setting up an appointment, waiting for approval, driving to a clinic, and then attending the counselling session in-person.

Online counselling may also be better for those individuals who do not feel comfortable in social settings. For such individuals, talking through a screen can be easier and help them to be more open and honest.

In-person Counselling

According to one study, COVID-19 has changed the prospects of in-person counselling and some of the many things that affect if and when counselling will revert back from online counselling to in-person counselling are, “therapists’ views on working from home, the lack of a proven vaccine, both clients’ and therapists’ satisfaction with telepsychotherapy, insurance companies’ reimbursement for telepsychotherapy, and negative attitudes toward wearing masks during sessions” (Shklarski, 2021). On top of this, there are three major disadvantages to in-person therapy.


  • Flexibility


When opting for in-person counselling, there is a lack of convenience and flexibility. To be able to schedule an in-person session can be an uphill task, especially since there is a greater chance that the availability of a practitioner offering face-to-face sessions will be more limited than those offering them online.


  • Time

As discussed earlier – but important to reiterate – traffic and travel time can be huge factors that may put individuals off in-person counselling. In fact, since the availability of mental health practitioners in clinics often coincides with working hours on weekdays, it may be difficult for working individuals to find the appropriate time to book an appointment with a counsellor/therapist.


  • Stigma


There is no denying the fact that there exists a stigma surrounding mental health and there is also no denying the fact that the stigma is a rather an unfair and uninformed one. However, while the stigma lasts, we must keep it in consideration when forming policies and offering solutions. For those individuals that buy into the stigma surrounding mental health, therapy and counselling can seem taboo subjects. They may be hesitant and uncomfortable to venture into an office/clinic for an in-person counselling session, which is where online counselling might just do the trick!


Want To Try Online Counselling?

While there are some advantages and disadvantages to both, it is best to see for yourself and figure out what works for you and what simply does not. You will be surprised to see that the mental health solutions you discarded as ineffective would prove to be the most beneficial to you. In addition, there is never any harm in trying to take time out to explore options for taking better care of yourself and your mental health.

If you feel like online counselling might be the method for you or just want to give it a try and see if it helps, you can book in a session with trained professionals through Takalam Online Counselling at: