Online Counselling

The Pandemic that is COVID-19 has put a lot of strain emotionally and mentally on individuals, leaving many requiring mental and emotional support. While mental health services remain an essential service, navigating the new normal of lockdown has resulted in many mental health professionals fulfilling services remotely. Many may only have the image portrayed in movies of what therapy or counselling is, where a client goes into the therapist’s office and lies on a couch, tells the therapist their problems and after 45 minutes gets up from the couch feeling better. The deviation from the perceived norm is likely to leave many clients questioning the effectiveness of online remote counselling without face-to-face interaction. No two situations in therapy or counselling are the same just as with remote and face-to-face counselling. However, this remains constant remote counselling is to be conducted by qualified professionals, and is to be conducted in the same manner as face-to-face counselling would be conducted, with the only difference being that you are geographically in different places. Data collected in scientific research suggest that online therapy has the same efficacy as face-to-face therapy. In particular, internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has proven its efficacy in treating anxiety as well as depressive disorders and its effects last over time (Wagner, 2014; Andrews, 2018).

On the bright side online counselling allows you to get counselling in the comfort of your own home, and if you can navigate logging into your Zoom meeting with your therapists and fingers crossed you are not scheduled to experience load shedding (Another South African Pandemic). Online counselling may just be the scenario in an already stressful environment.


Online counselling is similar as face-to-face counselling, the only difference being that it is conducted behind the screen of your computer or telephonically. Here are some things to consider if looking for remote counselling in the time of COVID-19 or if you and your therapist are transferring from face-to-face to online counselling:


Be prepared

Most likely you will be using a laptop or a cell phone and if technology can present a challenge for you (we have all been there) then I would recommend trying to log in before time so you can identify and solve any problems before counselling starts.  Charge all your devices before time, even your power banks just to be on the safe side and not have load shedding cut your therapy short. Another important thing is to have more than enough data to be able to stay connected for the whole session, we know data costs are a pandemic on their own but this needs to be considered before transferring to online or beginning online counselling. Last but not least make sure there is enough network coverage to log on to your sessions.

Clients prone to self-harm

In stances, if a client has suicidal thoughts or is prone to committing suicide online counselling may not be an effective method of counselling. Rather a client be taken to a psychiatric facility or a hospital for suicide and placed on suicide watch and then later on continue with counselling on a continuous basis either online or face-to-face once the risk of self-harm has been alleviated



Whether starting face-to-face counselling or online counselling it is always advised to check if your therapist is sufficiently qualified and registered with the professional body to conduct such work. In South Africa, you can check with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. It is always advised to talk to a number of therapists to get the one that is best fit for you before choosing one. It is a bit like buying a car, all cars are beautiful but you have to test drive a few to find the right one for you. Counselling and therapy are not merely about a qualified person helping a client, but it is about two people who have values, world perspectives and principles and if those are not aligned, they can be a cause for friction not just in counselling but in life in general.

Contact Life Counsel if you require Counselling Services