The information age has given us many ways to connect and stay connected with one another. Social media and the ease of instant communication wherever we are has given us unprecedented abilities to talk with one another. It has given us access to many thing, including healthcare. For people in rural or remote areas, having access to proper healthcare has been limited, and they would have to drive for hours to get to a doctor or therapist. This is not the case anymore.
The majority of the U.S population has access to the internet at home or at work. On average almost ¾ of the nation has access to the internet, with almost 70% having broadband connection in their home. And with smartphones, most of the country has access to the internet and online services in the palm of their hand.
This does unfortunately break down when it comes to poor, rural or remote areas of the nation. Here the percentage of people who have internet access drops to just about half, from three-quarters. It also cuts broadband or high-speed internet access as well, which is an inherent limitation to many internet sites, as well as being able to communicate online via video streaming.
This gets balanced out, however, by opening counseling to people that are not able to make it in to an office setting for a variety of reasons. Distance is a serious limitation, as well as the time it would take to get to a counseling appointment in another city, another county or another side of the state. The time needed to go for an hour session could be longer than the session itself for many in a rural population. It also helps those with health or mobility issues, that limits how much time they can be away from home or moving around. In short, this brings therapy to many people who need it.
Online counseling and therapy also gives people more options for counselors, that are not present for those in rural areas. There simply are not many counselors in a rural area, and if you do not want to see that person for any reason, you are stuck. Or if they cannot see you, they may not be seeing new clients or cannot meet on the only day you are free, this gives you options.
One final consideration for the use of online counseling is that it gives people in a rural area a better sense of privacy when they are talking to a therapist. Realistically, people in a small town know each other’s business, whether you want it to be so or not. If you do not want others to know you need to talk to someone about your anxiety, your past or for whatever reason, online counseling can give you that security you need.
Online counseling, especially in rural or remote areas, can give people the hope and help that they need, without traveling hours at a time. Although there are many limitations in rural areas, therapy online can give people the best chance they can at getting help and healing.