“Online counseling? How’d you start doing that?”
This is a question I frequently get at networking events and one I answer in my latest YouTube video. For those of you who don’t want to watch the video, you can also read a summary below of why I made the switch from traditional, face-to-face therapy to seeing 100% of my clients online.
When I started planning to become a psychologist, I never imagined that one day I would be providing online counseling to individuals around the world. In fact, if you would have asked me two years ago what I thought of online counseling, I probably would have told you that while it was a great option for people who didn’t have access to an English speaking therapist in their town, face-to-face therapy was still the preferred option. At that time I was living in Madrid, Spain and working with expats and other globally mobile individuals and couples and I saw around 10% of my clients through online counseling. These clients were living in areas of Europe where they didn’t have easy access to an English speaking therapist so online counseling was the only option they had.
However, this all changed when I moved from Madrid to Amsterdam and was forced to either refer all of my clients to a new therapist or continue working with them online. Most of my clients made the choice to continue to work with me through online video counseling since they’d already built a therapeutic relationship with me and didn’t want to start over again with a new therapist. What we found was that many of them actually preferred doing online counseling. They didn’t have to worry about getting to my office, they could speak with me from the comfort of their home and we could continue doing therapy even when they moved back to their home country or to a new country.
I still assumed I’d start a new face-to-face private practice in Amsterdam, but I also began to have an increasing number of people reaching out to me from around the world seeking online counseling. I started to see how online counseling could be beneficial to individuals living around the world, particularly those living a more globally mobile lifestyle, and I observed that the progress of my clients was not limited by the fact that the sessions were virtual. In fact, when I tested out having in-person sessions with some Madrid based clients while visiting last year, most of them told me that they actually preferred the ease of online counseling.
So, is online counseling the future? Is it for everyone? In this video I provide some of the individuals who may benefit from online counseling.
Since writing this post in 2018, I’ve now transitioned to working as a coach for global nomads. If you’re looking for an online therapist, I can recommend searching the online directory of the Location Independent Therapists (LIT) Community, which I co-founded for mental health professionals around the world.
You can read more about the topics I typically work on with my clients HERE. You can also schedule a free 30 minute consultation to see if my coaching services would be a good fit for you.