The most common form of counseling, also known as talk therapy, aims to provide overall assistance and guidance to individuals trying to resolve their issues personally, socially, or psychologically. Counseling is administered by licensed professionals called counselors who know how to identify goals and potential solutions to people’s life problems and difficulties. But with the constant change and specific life matters that everyone faces, challenges emerge. Fortunately, alongside the difficulty of providing counseling services is the opportunity given by technological advancement.
Convenience And Accessible Time For Counseling
Technology is now an essential part of counseling as it potentially increases free time in the lives of patients and practitioners. Those individuals who previously could not find even a little dedicated time for counseling sessions could now access professional help through the tip of their hands.
With the help of mobile devices, both patients and medical professionals can interact and assist in building a relationship. Aside from that, mobile devices or smartphones can support better communication, especially in remote areas where counseling is somehow out of reach. The best part of utilizing mobile gadgets is that both patients and professionals can secure convenience, affordability, and fewer restrictions.
But it is essential to note that while technology may be a good source of collaboration, it can still fail in some aspects. Both patients’ and professionals’ safety and privacy can be at risk. That is because utilizing technology in counseling only works when information gets transmitted online. Therefore, information leaks and hacks can become more of a concern. Aside from that, while technology offers convenience, it lacks in response to critical situations. Meaning, it would be difficult to access treatment when it gets badly needed by patients.
Utilization of Virtual Augmented Reality
Technology has come a long way at it now proved that it is capable of almost anything. Thus, the utilization of virtual-augmented reality in counseling is becoming extremely sophisticated. In addition, it can support patients-professionals relationships so that both can benefit from the look and feel of in-person counseling.
A recent study about patients’ simulations shows that virtual-augmented reality can be an effective instrument for the increased brief clinical interviewing skills applicable for people who have behavioral problems. Therefore, shortly, everyone can expect VR technology to help provide standardized and more accessible clinical training in environmental exposure.
But then again, though VR technology sounds very promising, it may still have difficulties in erasing the patients-professionals barrier. Yes, it can be useful in various situations, especially when the concern is an in-depth understanding of the patients’ condition. However, VR cannot process immediate support and assistance from a trained counselor. It would be very difficult to assist the patients’ severe symptoms of a mental health condition. The scope of treatment can be limited to instructional procedures only, which is typically not effective in more complex situations.
Computers And Internet Can Save The Day
As bad as the situation of individuals could get, they can still rely on counseling anytime and anywhere. They can utilize technology and the internet due to the flexible nature of online counseling services. It has been the common practice preferred by both counselors and clients nowadays. That is because online counseling’s primary goals are designed to cater to accessibility, affordability, and convenience.
Some experts believe that the even more encouraging effect of digital interventions in counseling is to provide a positive experience for patients to convince them to go on and consider seeking face-to-face counseling. And since there is a positive approach in online sessions, patients and professionals can build strong connections even before they get in touch personally. Thus, most experts believe that online counseling can bridge the gap of social interaction. In addition, technology can help encourage patients’ to verbalize particular subjects of their conditions and even make personal interpretations.
But despite the compromising benefits of online counseling, there are still some issues that it needs to address in particular. The most common thing that patients and professionals complain about it is miscommunication. Professionals cannot easily access body language information from the patients, leading to a greater risk of missing significant non-verbal cues. In some aspects, the patients might also have problems bringing their complex thoughts and emotions into words. And the worse of all, a very unreliable internet connection may jeopardize and interrupt the delivery and flow of the counseling session.
Counseling in a technologically innovated world comes with pros and cons. If people want to utilize convenience and affordability, that is okay. However, they should also consider looking at some important factors that might affect the counseling service. Technology is okay as it provides great benefits when it comes to immediate response. However, it might threaten human-to-human relationships at some point. So, again, people should take time to learn what is more convenient and effective for their mental health needs.