Despite so many modern-day conveniences brought to us by technological advances, fast-paced lifestyles place a high demand on our time. Between juggling a career, family obligations, errands, our health, and social life, it’s rare to find time to focus on the less tangible aspects of our lives. Our mental well-being, stress levels, and certainly our marriages don’t receive nearly as much attention as they deserve.
While we can all benefit from better prioritizing those areas of our lives that are most important, there’s only so much “fat” you can cut before you get to the “meat.” We lead busy lives and that’s not going to change. What can change, however, is how we leverage our technological advances to save us time and provide us with access to things that maybe have previously been out of reach. That’s where online marriage counseling comes in.
Coordinating weekly sessions with your spouse or partner in a therapist’s office can be a major inconvenience, not to mention a significant expense. But new platforms now exist that allow you to attend sessions with professional, licensed therapists online or via mobile app. Not only is this solution more convenient than in-person couples counseling, but it’s also more affordable. One session with a marriage counselor can cost as much as a monthly subscription for unlimited online counseling. Another often overlooked benefit is that whereas your communication with in-person marriage therapists in between sessions is normally nonexistent, with some of the providers listed above you and your spouse can engage in an ongoing dialogue with your therapist via chat, and discuss issues as they come up. This allows couples to deal with quarrels in real-time rather than having to take notes on them, and then discuss them days later with their therapists after they’ve potentially snowballed into larger fights.
The technology behind online counseling platforms is straightforward. Chat sessions are conducted in a personalized chat room that resembles your SMS function on your phone. If you’d like to speak with your counselor over the phone, you simply pick a date and time from the calendar in your designated chat room, which the therapist then confirms. Video chat scheduling works the same way as how you’d set up a phone call (simply choose a date and time that’s convenient for you from the calendar).
This level of flexibility with your therapist can open up a world of options previously unavailable to those engaging in marriage counseling. Want to talk alone, without your partner? No problem. Want to schedule an emergency dual session? No problem.
Although convenience and cost are important, the most important aspect of therapy is effectiveness. Since it’s a fairly new industry, there are no long-term studies on its efficacy. However, one recent study did report a 90% satisfaction rate for counseling online. The study, which was conducted by the Zurich University, touched on some fairly common-sense reasons as to why there was such a high satisfactory rate. Respondents noted the ability to ‘go over’ the lessons they learned within their chat room instead of relying on their memory. Furthermore, patients felt more intimacy within the online counseling sessions. They also reported that sessions with in-office therapists felt rushed compare with their online counterparts. Additionally, seeing an online counselor gave them a feeling of more individual attention.