5 Benefits of Online Counselling for Gay Men
As I write this, COVID-19 has forced a lot of activities online that would otherwise be in-person. We know online counselling works. But is there actually some benefits to doing counselling online besides “Corona made me do it?” Keep reading to find out (hint: there definitely is).
1. Access for remote and rural areas
This is a big one. Many services for gay men are located in larger urban centres. Yet, many gay men don’t live close enough to make accessing these services feasible.
In fact, in the U.S., about 20% of LGBTQ people live in rural areas. And in Canada, the 2016 Census revealed that 10.4% of same-sex couples live in rural areas.
This benefit of online counselling alone may be the deciding factor for the many gay men who live in remote areas that want counselling designed for gay men.
2. Accessibility and travelling
Even for those gay men who do live in larger urban centres, cities and buildings are often not designed for the accessibility needs of gay men living with disabilities. For this reason, online counselling may be a good option for some gay men.
Weather and health conditions can affect all of us. There may also be times where temporary health or weather conditions make travelling to in-person counselling difficult. In these cases, online counselling may be a welcomed option.
Similarly, if you travel regularly for work, relocate, or are on vacation, online counselling allows you to switch locations without switching counsellors.
Let’s face it, for better or worse, a lot of us are busy and time is at a premium. Spending an extra hour or two of travel on top of an hour of counselling can make the time commitment of in-person counselling too high for it to be feasible.
Online counselling allows time-efficient gay men to have counselling sessions from home, their workplaces on a lunch break, and yes, sometimes even from their car (parked of course!)
For some gay men, privacy may be a large concern for in-person counselling.
Maybe you’re not out yet, and would like to work through things privately first. Or maybe you simply would rather not run into someone you know arriving to or leaving counselling when you’re working on a distressing personal topic.
Counselling from your own couch in pyjamas? Yes, it’s a thing. And yes, there are benefits to this.
Although it might sound strange, your own comfort will play a large role in your ability to engage in the counselling process.
For many gay men, especially if they have anxiety about discussing uncomfortable topics, being in a familiar environment they can control makes a big difference. This is especially true if you don’t always feel comfortable being in public spaces that feel hostile or unwelcoming to gay men.
Is online counselling a good fit for you?
If you’re thinking the benefits of online counselling sound appealing, online counselling may be a good fit for you.
There are two additional things to consider:
Online counselling may not be a good fit for you if you regularly experience suicidal thoughts or psychosis. If this describes your experience, in-person counselling is the preferred choice.
Other than this consideration, if you have a private and quiet space to have counselling sessions from, and have a decent internet connection that doesn’t lag when you watch YouTube or other streaming services, you could likely benefit from online counselling.
Yes, even in your pyjamas.