Is it possible to define something as ‘meta’ and virtual as online counseling?

When we talk about therapy, we often assume that it takes place face to face within the confines of a neutral, safe space. In the confines of this space, thoughts are communicated freely without any barriers, and beliefs are evaluated bit by bit. Judgments are avoided, and people are taken for who they are, when they are affected by things both in their control, as well as extraneous to them.

Think of a therapeutic safe-space to be virtual. Imagine we take away all the perfectly decorated therapy spaces, and introduce a neatly designed chat room, where thoughts are expressed through the tinkering of fingers on a keyboard. Thoughts are expressed as code, and feedback is received as code, imbued with intent towards a resolution of mental conflict. That’s what chat -based counseling is all about. It concerns the sphere of psychology with dissolving physical boundaries, and reaching people across these limits.

Typing your thoughts is probably a good choice before heading into the clinic straight away. Image: William Iven

Typing your thoughts is probably a good choice before heading into the clinic straight away.
Image: William Iven

The scope that chat-based counseling has int he contemporary context which is marked by a higher reliance on digital media is very vast. The high prevalence of online personalities and the submission of the teenage demographic to the digital warrant a prolific response to the notion of online counseling services. One may say that a personal touch is always necessary for any interactions that streamline one’s outlook towards life, but typing one’s thoughts is seen to produce pretty good results too.

The hesitance of revealing one’s identity is something that plagues the demographic of the millennial age. Retaining anonymity is something that we in today’s age feel comfortable with rather than bearing it all to someone hearing us out. Bearing one’s emotions to someone to the point where it benefits us, and helps us overcome our impediments without really revealing things we might find incriminating is a win-win situation.

If anonymity is something that is your cup of tea, you probably need to see your own reflection a little more clearly. Image: Nicholas Kanpouris

If anonymity is something that is your cup of tea, you probably need to see your own reflection a little more clearly.
Image: Nicholas Kanpouris

But where does the notion of the personal touch come in here? How do counsellors mediate their emotions in a crystal clear manner? Well, the qualifications and skills that counselors pick up often enable them to express their words through codes and texts too. They can detect cognitive distortions, work out the way you evaluate phenomena around you, and are even sometimes capable of helping individuals overcome delusions, all through just typing out the advice they’re trained to give. Techniques like REBT and CBT prove most effective during online counseling, since they work on beliefs, which are saliently expressed even in types messages.

Thus, the notion of online counseling is not only able to transcend geographical barriers. It is able to dissolve them to create a sort of ‘base’ for individuals to access in order to freely overcome their problems, without being conscious, or worried about being judged. In the age of the digital, typing your thoughts thus seems to be more or less equal in its weight when compared to formal therapeutic intervention, and thus, has a vast scope for expansion.