Marriage counseling can help committed couples maintain a lasting union. With ever-present technological advances, the Internet has become a source of assistance and advancement for many psychological issues, include marriage troubles. Online marriage counseling may come in various outlets, including live chats, e-mail or message board exchanges, or even electronically published guides. The means of obtaining this help may therefore range from simply seeking out relevant websites to contacting and compensating licensed professionals via online technology.
Perhaps the most convenient form of online marriage counseling assistance is in the form of already-prepared materials. Through research, a couple can find many websites that offer electronic pamphlets, e-books, and other guides from a wide range of authors. Many of these authors are licensed therapists, and such experts will likely provide the most sound advice. Some sources of information may be available for free, while others require purchase.
Direct interactions with a marriage counselor are the other main form of online marriage counseling, although the precise method of interaction can vary. Some counselors and sites may set up message boards where interested individuals can post questions or ask for advice, allowing the counselor to view the message and give a response that may be viewable to others. Others may choose to communicate more privately via e-mail. In these cases, the counselor and the couple may exchange e-mail addresses and correspond regularly. The therapist may send relevant materials or sometimes take a more personal approach and engage in question-and-answer sessions with the couple.
The most personalized online marriage counseling — and the form closest to traditional marriage counseling — is provided by online chat capabilities. Websites that offer this option allow couples to communicate in real time with a certified counselor. The interactions can then take place as if one were in a regular therapy session, only without the face-to-face contact. Although first-time consultations are sometimes free, this method most often requires payment by the minute or the hour, usually by means of a credit card. Valid websites will likely offer secure payment options, provide information and client reviews of the available therapists, and set up easy and private access to the chat features.
Online marriage counseling has both proponents and critics. Some may argue that the less direct nature of the exchanges will hinder a therapist’s ability to effectively pinpoint and work through problematic issues. Others believe that the less feeling-focused, more structured and results-oriented nature of online marriage counseling can actually be beneficial, as it provides couples with leadership and sound guidance via methods that have worked for other couples. Any interested couples should, however, be wary of potential scams and only seek help from sites or individuals that can provide valid credentials.