There have been a lot of businesses that were negatively affected by the pandemic in 2020, and that certainly includes some in the professional mental health fields. When person- to-person meetings are limited or completely eradicated, meeting with a professional about something as sensitive as our health seemed almost impossible. After all, very few of us even understood what a “Zoom” was before 2020, much less talk to a medical professional from that platform.

But then came 2020, and everything changed. However, some of that change was actually good.

Enter telemedicine and virtual therapy/counseling.

I began my professional counseling career about twenty years ago, but I invested in an actual office space for the center in March of 2020. Great timing, right? One might think that my business was doomed to fail seeing as the office building where I set up my center closed its doors along with every other business in the area as a result of the COVID outbreak. However, much to my surprise, people still wanted to meet, and they were willing to meet any way they could.

As I began the center, I really thought business would be sporadic since it was virtual and not in-person, but I was completely wrong. We were seeing clients every day, all day long within months. Even after returning to the office for in-person sessions, many of our clients have preferred to stay virtual. The sessions are the same and the same healing occurs whether

on screen or in-person, so this option has become a favorite at many counseling centers, including mine.

As a matter of fact, for many the freedom offered in virtual counseling is the most attractive aspect of it. No longer do you have to just visit counselors or therapists within driving distance. You can see a counselor anywhere in the world. Here at my counseling center, we currently see clients in many other states and countries. Additionally, many of our clients prefer the comfort of their own homes while counseling, and the added bonus of freedom to meet with the counselor of your choice as opposed to the one closest to your home is very attractive. All of that combined with the fact that the American Psychiatric Association has stated that virtual therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy, and the choice for online counseling has, in many cases, become the best option.

We are now a couple of years out from the pandemic, and most counseling offices offer both in-person and virtual options for sessions. No more is there a stigma that you have to go to an office to get the emotional and mental support you need. Now we all have the opportunity to choose the kind of counseling we want and the manner in which we get it.

There were a few good things that came from the pandemic. Virtual counseling is definitely one of them.

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