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Virtual Counselling: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Dr. Joti Samra

October 29, 2019

Resiliency

As our world has become busier and more technologically connected, our lives have increasingly become more virtual and remote. We are now able to access a breadth of services – including health services – from the comforts of home. In the last number of years, there has been an explosion of online (virtual) health services – including virtual (video-based) counselling services which have been demonstrated to be as effective as more traditional in-office approaches. This enhances our ability to prioritize taking care of our psychological health in spite of the myriad demands of modern-day life.

So, what is online (virtual) counselling?

Virtual counselling involves providing mental health services over the internet. This allows people to connect with qualified mental health professionals from the comfort of their own home and without the hassle of commuting to an office.

Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych. & Associates is pleased to offer virtual treatment services to individuals, couples and families for a range of life difficulties, including but not limited to:

  • General life stress
  • Workplace stress and conflict
  • Relationship enhancement (building closer connections, enhancing intimacy, pre-marital counselling)
  • Relationship difficulties (conflict, separation, divorce, co-parenting)
  • Mood disorders (depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder)
  • Anxiety and related disorders (generalized or social anxiety disorder, panic, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, hoarding)
  • Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder)
  • Borderline personality disorder, non-suicidal self-injury, & chronic suicidality
  • Substance use, misuse & abuse
  • Chronic physical issues (pain, injury, disability)

Treatment approaches & modalities

The way our stress reveals itself depends on myriad factors, including our childhood history; personality and genetic predispositions; how we observed our parents dealing with stress; and whether or not overt emotional displays were viewed as ‘acceptable’ ways to communicate stress in our family.

Individual differences exist in the degree and intensity to which emotional issues manifest physically, but the most common physical symptoms are stomach/gastrointestinal problems (tension, nausea, constipation, diarrhea), pain (headaches, back pain, chest tightness), appetite changes and sleep problems.

What can we do about it?

Our team uses the following evidence-based approaches:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
  • Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)/Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
  • Dr. John Gottman’s model for Relationship Therapy

How does virtual counselling work?

With Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych. & Associates, virtual counselling works (almost!) the same as it would for in-office sessions. To get started you would submit a referral request and rather than clicking on a preferred location, indicate your preference for virtual health. Once the referral is received you will be matched with the most appropriate clinician for your psychological health needs. Our clinicians are masters-level counsellors who work under the treatment plan oversight of Dr. Samra.. Once booked, you will be provided with instructions and support on setting up your virtual health software platform – all you need is a laptop or desktop computer, a private space to hold your session and a stable and secure WIFI connection! All virtual services use a secure, encrypted videoconferencing platform.

For more information about these services and the referral process check out our website, and don’t hesitate with any questions you may have.

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You’ve likely seen an explosion of ads for virtually-delivered health services. But are they as effective as in-person sessions? 

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With work and personal demands, it can be hard to book and get to our appointments. Dr. Joti Samra discusses the benefits of online (virtual) counselling.

Online (Virtual) Counselling: Security & Confidentiality

Just because virtual counselling services are conducted online does not mean they are not held to the same standards as in-office sessions.

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