When you imagine counseling, you probably think of having a one-on-one conversation in the counselor’s office while you relax on a couch. But with online sex addiction counseling, you don’t have to leave your home to receive the same treatment and support.
Technology changed the way people interact with the world, including healthcare and mental health professionals. Online sex addiction counseling is a great way to begin or continue your healing journey.
Before you try online counseling, it’s good to know why people may seek that type of treatment. It’s also essential to understand the benefits and limitations of online counseling.
What is Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction is compulsive sexual thoughts, urges, or behaviors that take over a person’s life. Because they’re so preoccupied with sex, it becomes difficult for them to function in their everyday life.
Sex addiction can negatively affect a person’s mental and physical health, job, and relationships. It extends to every part of their lives.
Signs of sex addiction include:
- Compulsive masturbation or porn use
- Avoiding or neglecting activities that don’t include sexual outlets, including daily responsibilities
- Engaging in risky sexual behaviors like voyeurism, exhibitionism, or having unprotected anonymous sex
- Non-intimate sex with strangers or sex workers
- An inability to maintain meaningful relationships or an aversion to intimacy
- Trying and failing to stop these behaviors
Why Seek Online Counseling?
Seeking help can be intimidating, which can be a stumbling block for people with sex addiction. It’s difficult to ask for help when it comes to something a person feels intense guilt and shame about.
Also, COVID-19 has made it more challenging to access in-person therapy. Because of the highly contagious nature of the virus and its variants, some people may not feel comfortable meeting with a doctor in person. And if someone is exposed to COVID, the quarantine period can prevent them from attending in-person therapy sessions.
There also are people who don’t enjoy in-person therapy or can’t access it because of other obligations. Online counseling is an excellent option to overcome obstacles.
The therapy itself doesn’t have to be limited to one format either. Online counseling makes it possible to access counseling services via video chat, like Zoom. Some counselors may also use text messaging, voice memos, or audio-only calls.
Understanding Online Sex Addiction Counseling
There are benefits and limitations when it comes to online sex addiction counseling. It may not be the best type of counseling for everyone. But it also can bring counseling services to people who may not always be able to access such services.
Benefits of Online Sex Addiction Counseling
Online counseling is a good option for people who live in remote areas without nearby treatment options. It can also be more accessible for people with disabilities than face-to-face counseling. Because the client doesn’t have to leave their home, it’s easier for them to access treatment.
Online counseling is also more convenient than in-person options. For example, a person could easily access their online counseling from anywhere, at any time. This access means they wouldn’t have to ask off from work to attend a counseling session. Because there are no commute times, it saves the client time.
In-person counseling centers have a lot of overhead costs that can drive up counseling prices. But with online counseling, there’s little overhead cost. Therefore, the prices may be lower.
And for some people, the online counseling experience may be more comfortable. They may feel more at ease when they speak with their counselor via phone or on a video call. This mediated access could make the client feel more comfortable sharing with their counselor.
Limitations of Online Sex Addiction Counseling
Even though there are some profound benefits to online counseling, there are also limitations.
Insurance doesn’t always cover online counseling. It ultimately depends on individual insurance plans. So checking with your insurance provider before scheduling online counseling sessions can save you future stress. And some states don’t allow out-of-state providers. This provider issue means your counselor needs a license in your state and their home state.
Technology is another limitation. Technology can be unreliable. For example, internet outages can prevent clients from accessing care. And buggy software can make communication difficult. Some clients may not be comfortable using the software necessary for online counseling sessions. This discomfort can add an element of stress that isn’t there with in-person counseling. And because privacy is a significant concern with counseling, information leaks or hacks could make private information vulnerable.
Because distance is a factor with online counseling sessions, it may be difficult for a counselor to respond effectively in a crisis. If a client is experiencing a tragedy that may impact their recovery journey, it may be impossible for the counselor to provide direct assistance.
And finally, because online counseling isn’t in person, it isn’t as personal. Clients may not get as much information from their counselor in a text exchange as they would in an in-person conversation. Body language and social cues can help clients understand what the counselor is saying. But even with video chatting, the session may feel more impersonal than a face-to-face counseling session.
Online Sex Addiction Counseling Results
Online sex addiction counseling results will depend on the client and the severity of their case. For some, online counseling can be a great way to try therapy for the first time. For others who prefer a more intimate environment, in-person counseling may be a better option.
As an after-care program, online counseling is a great option. For clients who attended many sessions in the past, online counseling can be a great way to check in with their counselor. Online counseling can also be excellent for long-term follow-ups.
And online counseling could be a solid supplement to an in-person program. Using online resources between in-person sessions can help clients stay dedicated to the recovery.
How Begin Again Institute Can Help
Begin Again Institute specializes in helping men heal their sexually addictive behaviors and rebuild their relationships. We offer several online options to help you on your healing journey.
Our sex addiction online course is a pre-recorded six-module course based on exercises and treatment used in our 14-day Men’s Intensive program. We also offer ongoing support after individuals leave our treatment programs. Our continuing care membership gives clients access to community support and weekly group counseling sessions.
Contact Begin Again Institute if you’re interested in learning more about our online programs.