The Downside of Free Online Counseling Chat Services

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Figuring out when to use free online counseling chat and when not to, is a simple task. It might not be pleasant, but it is simple.

  1. Figure out what you want to gain from the free online counseling chat service
  2. Research the free online counseling chat services and compare them for features that do or don’t meet your needs.
  3. Communicate with the service and start resolving your issues. Or not.

 

  1. A free online counseling chat is exactly what it implies: An experiment in meeting your needs or in realizing that you wasted your time and hopes with it.

 

  1. Free online counseling chat services with a group or with an individual poses specific vulnerabilities to you. Those vulnerabilities wouldn’t be likely to exist in privately paid for counseling services. Here’s a short list of those vulnerabilities:
  • Wasting time on people unqualified to help you
  • Realizing that your problems are worsening as you remain without necessary insights and potential solutions
  • Feeling uncomfortable with your efforts among strangers who might or might not appreciate the ramifications of the problems you want to solve and to prevent

 

  1. You risk exposing yourself and other people, plus the problems at hand, to public knowledge and to a lot of discomfort that can cause temporary or lifelong harm. Not only can the problems that you’ve raised go unresolved, they might get worse.

Can anything seem more tempting than a “Free online counseling chat 24/7” notice at some online site or in a print ad, especially when you’re stressed to the max? Maybe or maybe not, as far as you’re concerned, so let’s look at the issue for people who need a confidential listening ear in a big hurry, and don’t want to pay for the service.

Potential Trouble Spots:

  •  You know which problem(s) to address but your counselor might not be particularly good at helping people with that problem, and might not even be a certified therapist at all. You could end up speaking with someone who simply earns money by interacting with random people. If their insights help you, fine. If not, you need to move on to a better counseling arrangement.
  • If you’re interacting with a chat group, you might end up lost in other people’s problems and/or stuck with useless feedback. Assess the efficacy of your chat group from time to time, to make sure that it is meeting your needs.
  •  In today’s digital age you need to be protective of your private confidences. When financial secrets become headlines called Paradise Papers: Everything you need to know about the leak and the sexual predators of Hollywood can be exposed in one heartbeat all over the world, or personal secrets are revealed by vengeful people via online media, you need the security of knowing that what you confide to someone stays between the two of you.

Online chat rooms are not necessarily the stuff of guaranteed confidentiality. Participants are free to gossip about you online and off. Verify privacy protections before you begin interacting with free online counseling chat rooms or one-on-one services.

Professionalism versus Amateurism

Trained, certified therapists offer specific benefits that amateurs can’t. Professional therapists are educated to understand the frailties of human minds and lives, they can identify problematic patterns of behavior, and they are skilled in rehabilitating them. They’re also good at locating plus sharing information that troubled clients need for improving the quality of their lives.

This article I Spilled My Guts to Strangers on Free Internet-Therapy Sites

provides a good overview of the pitfalls in trusting amateurs rather than professionals with your psychological life. Spend some time considering the implications of spilling your guts to strangers and you just might realize that it’s not a commendable path for you to take.

Pros and Cons of One Format versus Another

By studying the free online counseling chat rooms and various other free online counseling chat services you’ll be better able to asses which one could serve your needs. You might even realize that chatting online is not suited to your personality or to your needs. If they are suited to your personality and needs, by all means seek the assistance you want. Stay alert to whether or not your needs are being met so that you can spot trouble before it develops, and choose to avoid it.

Privacy Matters

The basic reason that anyone wants to talk out a problem with another person is to gain 1) emotional comfort and then 2) the insight into how to solve a problem. Conventional wisdom guides us into speaking with people we know and trust, but sometimes we need to speak with a stranger, someone neutral with nothing to gain or lose by hearing what we want to say.

Sometimes a problem involves the people in our lives and their relationships with us. You know that they won’t appreciate being spoken of behind their back(s), or in the event that you speak with someone who can’t be trusted with confidential information, you dread the gossip that might follow your remarks. So, you seek privacy while sorting out troubling issues. You’re motivated to solve the problem(s) fast, and with someone wiser than you. That’s why solution-seeking people are willing to pay therapists: You hire their problem-solving expertise, their competence and their non-gossiping professionalism.

But suppose that you lack the funds for private therapy or prefer not to pay for the services you need. You might be tempted to follow up messages like “Free online counseling chat 24/7” and “free online counseling chat rooms.” Then again, you might wonder if those options are good idea or not. Questions such as “Is this person I’ll interact with competent in counseling or not? Can they keep a secret or not?” and so on.

When a problem is particularly delicate, conventional wisdom would caution against the use of free online counseling chat rooms. That old saying, “You get what you pay for,” is a warning. It’s an alert for being careful to avoid the futility of interacting with someone who lacks the credentials that warrant payment for their professionalism.

Here are the pitfalls that anyone needs to avoid in a counseling service that lacks the professionalism of trained, certified and competent therapists:

  • Being abandoned by a free chat counselor or group (fees tend to motivate the client and the therapist to complete their respective efforts)
  • Being harmed by inappropriate advice
  • Feeling worse than you did before
  • Losing sight of the reason that prompted you to seek counseling in the first place
  • (e.g., you might become mired in unrelated issues raised within chat groups)
  • No track record. Professional therapists know how to keep track of a specific client’s concerns. A causal arrangement within a chat counseling service or group might not invest in such efforts. Lost memories can impede progress with the counseling effort.

Ask, Think, Act

To learn more about whether or not a free online counseling service or chat room can meet your needs, speak with a local mental health information office. Communities list them in phone and business directories. Colleges which grant psychotherapy degrees can share information with callers who ask for relevant information.

Consider the information that you gather. Pursue the form of counseling that seems most suited to your needs: In-office, online, chat-oriented or otherwise.

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Yocheved Golani

Yocheved Golani

Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.