Look, it’s ok to not have all the answers. It’s perfectly fine to be in doubt. It’s only human to ask for help. The good news is, that with the advent of the Internet, finding the right people who can set you straight has never been easier. Most of the times, your first point of contact in a troublesome situation will be your family and/or friends. However, despite their intentions, they simply may not be competent enough to fully understand or help you. In such a situation the next step may be to turn to the Internet. On the Web, you can search for various specialists to arrange a visit in person or try to get some instant help, for instance, by looking for online counseling via live chat.
Since communication is one of the most vital parts of our daily lives, the areas where live chat can be used are many, and I’ll discuss some of them below. While online counseling may not be a perfect substitute for a face to face conversation, in certain situations it may hold some advantages over it.
When it comes to solving an issue, it’s more about getting the right kind of answers, than the actual means you use to get them. Oftentimes, the people able to help won’t be within arm’s reach. Such people may even not be available in the same town, where the person seeking help lives.
Thus, online counseling utilizing live chat software proves to be an affordable and efficient way to both, provide and get help in a variety of situations. That being said, let’s take a look at some actual applications of chat in online counseling.
Mental health counseling
One of the most widespread uses of live chat in online counseling is for the mental health therapy purposes. With the Internet becoming ever more pervasive, it seems rather obvious that the healthcare sector will also undergo at least a partial transition to the Web.
A growing number of patients, but also practitioners, turn to the virtual world or combine traditional treatments with online counseling to optimize the effects of psychotherapy. Research indicates that the efficiency of such an approach is in the very least equal to that of in-office treatment.
Among the pros of online counseling, one can mention the opportunity to attend sessions more regularly and outside of traditional business hours, patients being less intimidated by their counselors and staying in an environment comfortable to them, all of which results in being more honest and thus boosting the efficiency of therapy.
Online counseling using live chat as a part of tele-psychology provides therapist with more flexibility and proves to be an excellent solution for traditionally under-served people such as those living in rural areas or certain minorities.
Online counseling for personal matters
Now, this application of live chat for online counseling is largely related to the previous point that I have discussed, which I feel constitutes a rather large portion of the grander personal problems domain and thus deserved a separate paragraph.
Here, I’d like to touch upon a wider range of personal matters, that may demand online counseling as well. One aspect I’d like to emphasize right away is that this kind of issues is best dealt with immediately, and so, live chat allowing for real-time conversation seems to be a great solution.
Among personal matters that may call for online counseling are all types of addictions, marital and parenting issues or coping with grief. A number of, however not all, people experiencing such life challenges will actively seek guidance either among professional organizations or self-help groups. They may not have time and strength to go through the process of arranging face to face meetings but being able to talk to someone using live chat would definitely be of great help and work wonders for their wellness.
Shared interest groups that can be found online don’t exactly offer online counseling in the form discussed earlier, however, they may find live chat software useful as well. In this case it would be more about providing motivation or answering questions that hold less gravity than those regarding mental health or family issues.
To give you an example, think about a fitness website, where people come to ask for nutritional advice or tips on how to stay motivated. Live social chat not only provides incentive for users to visit your site to get useful information but is also an excellent community building device.
There’s no reason for the more knowledgeable members to not want to share their expertise and for others to be supportive towards each other. This is exactly what happens in good forums, the only difference is that here it’s in real-time. You can also take a look at how to boost chatroom activity if you’re unsure if there will be anything going on in your chat after you install it.
Getting answers online
‘Well, isn’t that exactly what you do online most of the time?’ Yes, however, my suggestion is to have a person to person relation via live chat, instead of a person querying a search engine with various degrees of luck in terms of received answers.
What I have in mind here is, for example, providing online counseling in the form of instant homework help, maybe doing mini online translations or giving some financial advice. These are just loose ideas that, I’m sure, could be developed and further transformed into legit services.
I’m not saying such online counseling could be your main line of business (I’m not saying it couldn’t either) but it might as well be a premium service or an extra for your key or those more loyal customers. In any case, being able to provide at least limited amount of instant help online should boost your image in the clients’ eyes.
Online fortune tellers
Ok, so to wrap things up, I might get a little controversial here. Psychics, astrologers, horoscope, fortune telling, tarot, crystal balls – some people will call it utter BS, others will beg to differ. Let’s put our personal beliefs aside for a minute and focus on the pragmatic aspect.
All the magic services I just mentioned are also provided on the Internet these days, and for the sake of argument I’ll call them a kind of online counseling. Am I stretching here? No, I don’t think so. Unfortunately, there are no precise stats available showing how many people and from what walks of life use the services of fortune tellers.
However, many clairvoyants brag about how they’re consulted by plenty of rich and powerful people. I admit that this isn’t very reliable data but the sheer number of websites offering this kind of esoteric online counseling should tell us that the business isn’t going away.
Live chat, then, could serve as a means of contacting fortune tellers. There are still many people wanting to gain control over their lives by means of learning what the future holds for them. It’s something deeper in them and the way they contact psychics isn’t that important. It just so happens that for many of them live chat might be the means of choice so why not make it available?
To sum it all up, live chat can serve as an excellent tool for providing various kinds of online counseling. From psychiatric consultations, through preventive measures in problematic situations and providing support, to constituting a source of knowledge and even being used in the esoteric industry.
Things that make it a great solution are its low price and relatively easy maintenance, being able to use it on mobile devices, and I pointed out that in case of personal problems acting instantly is crucial, as well as options to send links or media, which in fact may be an advantage over a face to face conversation.
It seems that with the expansion of the Internet the number of people seeking various kinds of online counseling will only grow. It’s not a question of ‘whether live chat is useful?’ but rather ‘how do you use it efficiently?’ and ‘how do you present its upside to the users?’. A number of answers to these questions can be found in this post, and more applications and ideas are sure to appear in the future.