I’ve specialized in online marriage & relationship therapy since 2020. Prior to that, I did traditional face-to-face therapy in my cozy downtown office for nearly a decade. Although many counsellors, including myself, were already offering online telehealth sessions, Covid-19 made online counselling the “new normal.”
My initial reaction to conducting online therapy sessions was filled with apprehension. How could I build a therapeutic alliance from afar? How could I effectively manage my sessions? Would therapy still be as effective? I was concerned that it would be more difficult to track emotion, expressions, and body language and I worried that I might come across as less warm or empathic.
I discovered that my fears and concerns were not only unfounded, but that couples who meet with me for online relationship counselling tend to have more success in repairing their relationships than some of the couples that I have met with in person. I’ve come to understand that online marriage counselling has some significant advantages over face-to-face sessions.
One of the most common questions I hear is “How effective is online marriage counselling?”
Here’s what I have learned:
Couples that are meeting with me online will quickly realize that they are not just talking to a screen; they’re talking to me. I’m right there with you, just like I would be if you were sitting in my office. I use state of the art webcam, speakers, and large screen monitors so that I can be present, engaged and really connect with you. I’ve received training on how to conduct online therapy to make it the best therapeutic experience that is available, so that you can relax and feel safe to let your defenses come down and be more emotionally available for your partner and your relationship.
Effective, evidence-based marriage counselling and couples therapy is the same online as it is in face-to-face sessions. Either way, we will be taking a deep dive into the issues that are creating anger, hurt, frustration and dissatisfaction in your relationship – that’s just how marriage counseling works. I help couples understand each other by turning their conflicts into connection and creating conversations that restore their bond.
Almost all couples are busy these days, between work schedules, kids, and never-ending lists of other responsibilities, it can be challenging to get two people in the same place at the same time. Google searches like “marriage counselling near me” and “couples counselling near me” confirm for me that couples are struggling to find a counsellor that is close to home and convenient to get to. With online counseling, you won’t have to leave early, hire a sitter, fight traffic, find and pay for parking, find my office, and feel rushed. Marriage counseling online from the comfort of your own home is simply less stressful and more convenient.
Online couples get more bang for their buck. They reap the benefits of less transition time (think waiting room small talk, removing coats, positioning cushions, taking a breath or two as you rush from your busy life to my office). There is also less stress as they switch back into the rest of their day too. That means the full hour can be dedicated to “the good stuff”. After the session ends, couples don’t have to get up and leave, they are still sitting there together on the couch. They can start implementing ideas and strategies right away or take some time to relax and debrief the session together. This means online clients make more progress more quickly than in-office clients will.
It used to be, that if one partner was traveling for work or worked away for periods of time, counselling would be interrupted, but with online counselling, partners can join the session from separate locations. The barriers to long distance relationships are gone, I have even met with couples while they were away on vacation! Help for your relationship is only a click away!
Another great thing about online marriage counseling is that I’m able to meet with clients regardless of where they live. I am licenced across Canada. Couples can take advantage of the time zone differences to book appointments that work better for their busy schedules.
Of course, everyone worries about technological challenges like poor internet connection, frozen screens, and lagging. I can’t deny that there are times where the connection can be difficult. Much like traditional therapy, online therapy isn’t always perfect, but I have done all that I can to ensure the best possible experience by having the best internet available and the most up to date technologies for conducting online therapy.
Skeptics may think that talking through a computer screen feels cold and impersonal, but most of them haven’t actually tried online therapy. I offer a free 30-minute consultation session so that you can try it out. After that, I will leave it to you to decide if online therapy is the right fit for you. All I can say is, like the old saying goes, “don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it.”