Online Counselling Services

Get online counselling wherever you are in Australia

If you are unable to visit our clinic in-person, we offer online counselling services so you can still get the support you need.

An online psychologist works in exactly the same way as a face to face psychologist, but they deliver therapy via the internet. This can help if you have a busy schedule and can’t make regular appointments in-person, or if you don’t live near our Melbourne clinics.

We will connect you with a psychologist and you will meet with them at your appointment time. Using a secure communication platform with video and audio functions, you’ll chat privately and in real time with your psychologist.

Seeing an online psychologist is as effective as in-person

Research studies have found that online counselling is as effective as face to face treatment. A systematic review (Backhaus et al., 2012) of 42 studies found that online psychology was as effective as in person treatment for a range of different client groups (e.g. children/adults, gender and ethnic background) and a range of different issues (e.g. trauma, depression and anxiety). This review also found that clients reported high levels of satisfaction when seeing an online psychologist, comparable to satisfaction levels with face to face sessions. 

Another study reviewed 23 research papers to see whether the connection between the client and the psychologist (sometimes called “the therapeutic alliance) was the same via online psychology (Simpson & Reid, 2014). Client ratings of the bond between themselves and their therapist was at least as high as face to face therapy. This study suggested that clients may feel safer to speak more openly with an online psychologist, with some reports of reduced shame and embarrassment when discussing challenging issues. 

What are the benefits of online counselling?

Convenience

If you have a busy schedule, work long hours, travel or juggle lots of responsibilities as a parent, it can be much more convenient to get online psychology online. Appointments with an online psychologist eliminate travel time, take away the hassle of parking and can also be scheduled at a time that suits you.

Access to suitable psychologists

Online counselling allows you to access the expertise and experience of psychologists across Australia, rather than just those in your local area. If you are looking for assistance in a particular language other than English or in a specific area like eating disorders or couples counselling, in certain parts of Australia there may not be psychologists with experience with these issues – but online psychology allows you to access these services wherever you are around the country.

Anonymity

If you are from a rural or regional area, there may be long waiting lists to see psychologists in your area and less psychologists to choose from. You might actually even know the psychologists or be an acquaintance. Online psychology allows you to work with a psychologist anywhere around Australia, while maintaining your anonymity.

Increased access to services

Some clients are not able to attend face to face therapy because of physical limitations and/or because the psychology clinic is not set up to be wheelchair accessible. Certain mental health issues, such as agoraphobia, can also make it challenging to leave home. Online psychology appointments can remove these barriers to treatment. New parents or elderly people might also find it easier to access services from home. 

Increased sense of trust and safety

Some clients report feeling that they are able to be more open when working with an online psychologist, because this format allows them to discuss issues that they may not have felt able to face to face. Of course, this is not every clients experience, but it is a benefit noted by some. 

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Frequently asked questions about online psychologists

We use a number of secure platforms for online psychologist platforms including Zoom, Coviu and Skype. You’ll also find online psychology goes by many names including eTherapy, online counselling and Telehealth.

Our preference is to use online video, instead of phone, because this enables our psychologists and clients to see one another. Given that an estimated 60-65%  of communication is non verbal, we feel that this is an important benefit. That said, sometimes because of technical glitches with software or issues with internet connection telephone is the best option.

If you have booked an online video session, before your appointment your psychologist will email you with a link that you can click on at the time of your appointment to begin your session.

If you have a phone session booked in, your psychologist will call your mobile phone from a private number.

Sessions are the same length as regular sessions, approximately 50 minutes. If you are having an initial couples therapy session it will be 90 minutes (unless you’ve arranged otherwise).

You’ll need either a smartphone, tablet or computer with an internet connection, camera and microphone (these are built into most modern devices). Make sure your phone or computer is fully charged and has adequate internet speed.

You’ll need a private space so you can speak freely and won’t be interrupted or overheard. If you’re struggling to find a suitable space, give this some thought before your session so that you get the most of your time with your psychologist.

Creative ideas that some of our clients have come up with are:

  • Sitting in their car. Some people even drive a few blocks from their house so that they can really feel like the session is private
  • Sitting in a park or open space where others are not close by
  • Asking anyone you live with to wear headphones and/or play music so that they are less likely to hear noise
  • Wearing earphones yourself so that your therapist’s voice isn’t projected over the microphone on your computer.

We understand that the idea of seeing a psychologist online can be daunting. At the beginning of your session, or at any point, your psychologist will be more than happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. If you’re not sure if online psychology is for you, we’d encourage you to give it a try and see what you think. Lots of people are surprised by how similar it is to face to face therapy.

If you have a Mental Health Treatment Plan/GP referral your psychologist will be able to process a rebate for each of your sessions until you have used your ten sessions for the calendar year. This means that you will need to pay for your session in full and your psychologist will arrange for Medicare to send a rebate to your bank account, reducing your out of pocket costs significantly.

Avoid multitasking
We’re often used to doing multiple things at once when we have our phones in our hands or our computers in front of us. Before you start your therapy session it’s a good idea to close all your browsers, turn off notifications and pop everything on silent.

Think about where you sit
This might sound finicky, but it can help to give thought to where you sit. Ideally you want to mimic the way that you would sit with your therapist face to face – so not looking up to them or looking down on them – sitting at the same level, so to speak.

Create some space before and after your session
You’ll get more out of your therapy session if you give yourself a few minutes to settle before you get started with your session. Allow time to transition from your work, socialising or parenting.

It can also be useful after your session to give yourself some space for things to settle before moving onto the next part of your day. Some people even find it helpful to set some time aside to go for a little walk afterwards.

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