Article by Letoo
Formal Counseling in Kenya has a relatively short history but with tremendous positive impact in the lives of many people, families and communities. Problems such as alcohol and substance abuse, depression, suicide, anxiety and autism are today better understood, identified, openly discussed, and appropriate therapeutic support sought-after and provided by the right mental health professionals. As mental health awareness continues to grow, more is being done to improve accessibility and build on the successes already realized.
To many people, counselling involves sitting in a quiet office or room with a counselor talking. However, this is not the only form of personal, couple or family counselling. Digital technology has transformed mental health service delivery and changed the way we view counselling. Online counseling is the delivery of mental health counseling via the internet or telephone. It is also variously called telecounselling, cyberspace counseling, digital counselling or e-counselling. Online counseling can help remove the many existing barriers that stand in the way of many people utilizing counseling services.
Online counselling provides comfort, flexible time and eliminates the stress of commuting and scheduling appointments. Imagine the hassle of navigating through the Nairobi weekday traffic in the afternoon from point A to B. From the privacy of your device you can reach your counselor anywhere, any time. You won’t need to worry about taking time away from work, school, or having to commute to a counselor’s office.
Much of the counselling services happens in Nairobi where most mental health professionals are concentrated. Online counseling creates an opportunity for those out of the city, those in diaspora who feel comfortable with local counselors that understand them better and those who are able differently to access counselling. Online counselling ensures a wider coverage breaking distance and time barriers.
Stigma (both self and social) is strongly linked to poor help-seeking behavior especially in mental health. Doubts on whether to seek counseling services or the fear of being seen by others while waiting to see a therapist in the waiting area can make one avoid it altogether. The lack of face-to-face contact can be just what someone needs to communicate openly without feeling judged. The more openness and self-disclosure in counseling the more effective and faster the healing process. Online counselling can also be effective in encouraging young people, those who are shy, anxious or have social phobias to benefit from therapy. In online therapy, one can maintain anonymity, hide, avoid or minimize physical appearance or other characteristics that people feel or think (real or imagined) are basis for being judged.
Online counselling may be cost effective as one saves from avoiding travel.
Online therapy has its limitations and therefore not recommended in all situations. For instance, it may not work in crisis or emergency or severe situations and cases. Traditional face-to-face counselling remains highly recommended for such cases and in most counseling needs. Therefore, consult your counselor or provider for proper guidance.
At CBT Kenya, we have friendly yet professional psychologists who are ready to have a talk with you. We encourage you to find out more about our services. We welcome any questions. Any questions related to psychotherapy, counselling, and psychology services are welcomed. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or firstname.lastname@example.org