How to Evaluate an Online Counseling Program

4.4 min read|889 words|Categories: Education Center, Treatment & Therapy|
woman speaking with counselor on laptop

Especially in the wake of a pandemic, online counseling is quickly becoming the preferred method for many patients to receive the therapy they need, from the comfort of their own home.

In the same way that high school students spend time evaluating a university before choosing to attend, anyone considering an online counseling program should take the time to look into specifics. And much in the same way that different universities offer different features, you’ll want to make sure that the online counseling program you trust offers the right combination of elements to help provide you with the support you need.

Here are 5 things to look for when considering online counseling platforms, to make sure you find a provider that offers what you’re looking for.

1. Easy process to get started

Look for an online counselor program that makes signing up for your tenth counseling session as easy as your first. The sign-up process will look to gather basic information about you and the issues you’re experiencing before connecting you with counselor profiles that can best help address your respective challenges.

Admitting you need help handling life’s difficulties is the most difficult step toward receiving the help you need. So many individuals will never reach the point where they can admit that their challenges are more than they can handle. As a result, it should be as easy as possible to sign up, browse counselor profiles and seek the help you need with minimal turnaround time. Look for an easy, yet thorough sign-up process that prioritizes your health and well-being.

2. Licensed online counselors

This is non-negotiable: your online counseling program must include licensed online counselors. While many counseling programs online offer reputable counseling help from therapists who have completed the required licensing, there are a number of programs with staff who are not properly accredited.

When you’re looking for an online counselor, you need someone who is licensed after completing extensive work helping people just like you, people who have experienced and overcome the challenges you’re facing. Licensed online counselors can provide you with the help, the therapy and the medication you need because they’re certified to help you deal with specific mental health disorders.

3. Guaranteed response times

Especially if your need for licensed counseling is more urgent, it’s important that you receive the help you need when you need it. Online counseling programs with guaranteed response times help you address specific issues with little wait time, whether you’re receiving help through a video call, messaging portal or voice communication.

Guaranteed response times also say a lot about the quality of the online counseling program in general. Especially if the counselors are fully licensed, they will understand that fulfilling counseling requests in a time-sensitive manner can have a huge impact on how well the patient receives the services. Oftentimes, the faster a counseling request is fulfilled, the better the result of the counseling session will be.

4. Live, secure online appointments

Most online counseling programs will offer live online appointments. We’d like to add another qualification: make sure that the online counseling provider you’re considering offers those live video connections through an encrypted platform. It’s not enough to host video communication between counselors and patients; given the often sensitive nature of the counseling itself, make sure your preferred online counseling provider offers a HIPAA-compliant, encrypted online connection to prevent any data breaches.

Much like the guaranteed response times, the security of the counseling connection will tell you a lot about the quality of the online counseling program you’re considering. Counseling providers who take the time to establish and maintain an encrypted online platform, despite the added costs, are telling you that they prioritize your security above cost-cutting measures. And that’s what you want: an online counseling provider that cares more about you than your wallet.

5. Online counselor profiles to filter

Oftentimes, even among the more qualified online counseling providers, you’ll simply fill out a profile and be automatically matched with a counselor who has experience dealing with the issues you’re facing. However, certain online counseling providers take provider matching a step further, giving you the ability to filter through online counselor profiles to decide for yourself the counselor you want to work with.

The connection between patient and counselor is so important for an online counseling session, especially since virtual counseling doesn’t allow for in-person meetings. In addition, body language is more difficult to read, making that online connection between therapists and clients arguably more important than ever before. As a result, online counseling providers who allow you to select the counselor you’d prefer to see are really working to set themselves apart. They put the power to initiate the relationship between counselor and client into your hands.

Finding an online counseling program with all the tools you’ll need

It’s important that you find an online counseling provider that checks all of your boxes, from licensed online counselors to a live, securely encrypted connection. Pyramid Online Counseling understands how important those benchmarks are because we’re already accustomed to maintaining those same standards. Take the first step toward a healthier, happier daily outlook and schedule your online counseling appointment today through Pyramid Online Counseling or by calling our offices anytime at 833-525-3077.

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