Online counseling (also called online therapy) is professional mental health counseling over the Internet. Some clients use online counseling in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy, but a growing number are using online counseling as a complete replacement to traditional office visits. iCouch is leading the way in this exciting new way to help behavioral health professionals deliver mental health treatment.
iCouch is your therapy on your couch. You can even wear pajamas..
At iCouch, we require that our therapists have ethics and professional behavior above reproach. All of our Therapists are required to follow the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. In addition to the ethical standards of traditional psychology, at iCouch, we have additional ethical guidelines.
We make it easy to find the perfect therapist or coach
We feature fully-interactive video counseling with licensed professionals. Our counselors speak many languages and are primarily located in North America, but we have counselors located all across the world and we are adding more counselors each day. For practitioners, iCouch is complete therapy practice managment software. We help clients find therapists and we help therapists increase their overall private practice effiency.
As easy as turning on your computer
While some form of telepsychology has been going for over 35 years , the advent of secure video systems and the widespread availability of broadband internet makes online therapy a real alternative to the hassle of traditional office visits. Imagine avoiding the traffic, parking and waiting rooms! Imagine being able to see a counselor from anywhere. Counselors also love it because they can maintain the critically important continuity of care.
The iCouch video platform is HIPAA compliant so patient privacy is always protected.
Online therapy is real therapy
The growing body of research into online counseling has established the effectiveness of online therapy with treatment results at least equal to traditional in-office settings. Online therapy has additional benefits unrealized by office-based treatments as it allows you to attend sessions more easily than with traditional face-to-face sessions. The number of missed appointments is much less than with in-person therapy. (By the way, if you're a therapist, be sure to download our free guide to reducing missed appointments!) Research suggests that online counseling can be even MORE effective because clients are more relaxed and feel less intimidated than they would in traditional settings.
Online counseling is also filling the needs for clients located in areas traditionally underserved by traditional counselors. Rural residents and expats along with underserved minorities often have an easier time finding a suitable therapist online than in their local communities. These access issues are solved with online counseling resources and result in clients receiving culturally or linguistically relevant treatment that they would not have otherwise been able to receive.
A study on the effectiveness of online therapy for treatment of anxiety disorders in students and found that there was no difference in the level of change between the online group and the in-person group as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. That simply means, online counseling is JUST as effective as in-person therapy for anxiety disorders.
The main goal of counseling is to reduce a person's distress, anxiety or concerns when he or she enters therapy. Under that definition, online counseling is tremendously effective. Client surveys tend to demonstrate a high level of client satisfaction with online counseling. A few in the psychology community argue that online counseling cannot be considered psychotherapy. However the scientific research has proven that attitude is a myth. People also once said the the telephone would never be a commercially useful tool and that the Internet was just a fad! Just think of how many of your daily activities on now completed online. Years ago who would have imagined buying books or paying bills online? Now, it's something we all do!
Over 30 years ago, when distance technology first made an appearance in the scientific research literature, similar complaints were lodged against telephone therapy. However in 2000, a study established that over 98% of psychologists who were members of the American Psychological Association used the telephone as a regular means of therapy, including 69% who conducted psychotherapy on the telephone and 79% who used it for emergency consultations. A 2003 study established that telephone therapy outcomes were not significantly different from face-to-face therapy. What does that all mean?
Online therapy works.
Are you a behavioral health professional?
Do you want access to the new iCouch when it launches?
What about online therapy research?
At iCouch, we love reading research! We love it when we find a great article that helps us help others. If you're interested in some scientific reading -- if you want to see "proof," then here are some of the more prominent research references on online counseling.
Mallen, Michael J.; David L. Vogel (November 2005). “Introduction to the Major Contribution Counseling Psychology and Online Counseling”. The Counseling Psychologist 33 (6): 761-775. doi:10.1177/0011000005278623.
Mallen, Michael J.; Vogel, Rochlen and Day (November 2005). “Online Counseling Reviewing the Literature From a Counseling Psychology Framework”. The Counseling Psychologist 33 (6): 819-871. doi:10.1177/0011000005278624.
Kessler, David; Lewis, Kaur et al (August 2009). “Therapist-delivered internet psychotherapy for depression in primary care: a randomised controlled trial”. The Lancet 374 (9690): 628 – 634. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61257-5.
Lamb, C.W. (1969). “Telephone therapy: some common errors and fallacies”. Voices: The Art & Science of Psychotherapy 5: 42-46.