More in Singapore going online for counselling help. More people have been turning to online counselling and e-mail befriending services for help in recent years. At least four such online services have registered more users or help requests.
Welfare groups which run such services said the increase is likely due to more people being tech-savvy and feeling more comfortable with talking about problems online.
Help groups said the prevalence of online platforms has made it easier for people to seek help online.
They feel safer with the possible anonymity and are more open as a result, the groups added.
"When it's done face to face, some people may find it difficult to express themselves," said Fei Yue Counselling Centre, Singapore, programme executive Joel Neo.
"But, online, they seem to be more comfortable in sharing and they come ready to share."
SOS executive director Christine Wong said: "When people are comfortable about getting emotional support via writing, it generates more openness and interest towards getting professional support when necessary.
With the evidence that more Singaporean are more receptive to going online for counselling.
The project team wishes to develop more user-friendly mobiles E counselling apps focusing on addictions with, virtual counselling chatroom and video conferencing platform for one to one counselling with certified counsellors. We also hope to link up this apps with the relevant organisation like National Council on Problem Gambling and National Addictions Management Service.
Benefits of the Apps
E -counselling is easily accessible to all those who wish to use it
Online therapy is convenient. Both the therapist and the client have the convenience of corresponding with each other at a range of variant times. This style of therapy can take away the hassle of scheduling and setting appointments more common in traditional settings. This also creates an opportunity for the therapist to extend their services to more clients as appointments can be potentially scheduled over 24 hours and reach a larger geographical region.
E -counselling has been shown to be more economical for both the therapist and the client
- Social Stigma
E -counselling may also be effective in eliminating social stigma associated with receiving therapy. For those who are uncomfortable with receiving therapy, online counselling allows access to such services in private without having to visit the counselling centre.
- Variant ways to communicate
The absence of face to face contact can also prompt clients to communicate more openly without concerns for bias of race, gender, age, size or physical appearance This may lead to an increased level of honesty and therefore higher validity in the case of self disclosure.
Online counselling, in which the mode of communication is often through writing via emails or a chat room, allows both the client and the therapist to pay close attention to their communication and reflect on their thoughts and feelings prior to it being expressed. This may be a particularly suitable way of communication for those clients who experience difficulty expressing themselves in words. Clients may also be able to communicate better in this environment as they are not affected by the therapist's nonverbal cues.