Is Telephone Counselling a good alternative for me?

Our therapist Danielle examines the advantages and disadvantages of telephone counselling therapy.


Therapy is taking many different forms in today’s modern world; currently, therapy options include computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT), telephone counselling, therapeutic groups and 1:1 therapy sessions to name a few. Research suggests that one of the reasons for face-to-face therapy appointments not being attended or cancelled is due to clashes with the clients other commitments, such as not being able to get out of work to attend, lack of childcare, being unable to afford bus or taxi fare and not being able to fit in appointment with daily schedule.


What does the evidence say?

There are several studies that support the effectiveness of online and telephone therapies:


  • Telephone counselling has been found to be beneficial and satisfactory at improving the specific issue that led to counselling and a global improvement in the emotional state. (American Psychological Association, 2002).

  • People have the same levels of satisfaction with online/telephone therapy as with face-to-face therapy, and technology-mediated therapies are just as effective (American Psychiatric Association, 2007).

One of the main advantages of Instant Counselling is that you can talk to the counsellor of your choice instantly, without needing any appointments. Accessing our service is also quite simple. No need to open an account or fill in questionnaires. Our counselling service does not require any subscriptions either, so you can truly stop using the service whenever you want. Changing counsellors is also a straightforward process: just call a different counsellor next time that you use our service. 





Telephone support has been available in the UK since the mid-1980’s with the memorable launch of ChildLine and other national organisations followed suit shortly afterwards. Telephone counselling has grown in popularity over the last 10-15 years, with its ease of access and being able to speak with a qualified counsellor instantly has been a major part of the appeal to this type of counselling. Although we must remember that telephone counselling is not necessarily everybody’s cup of tea.


When considering accessing any form of therapy, there is bound to be fear, anxiety and uncertainty around entering into counselling, however, is there any difference or other issues to be taken into account when accessing telephone therapy?  If you are unsure if telephone counselling is right for you here we can address the pros and cons for telephone counselling which will hopefully help you to make up your mind.


Advantages of telephone counselling

We've listed below some of the main advantages of this type of therapy:

  • Accessible 24/7. The majority of telephone counselling organisations have counsellors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Affordability. Many times, telephone counselling is more affordable than face-to-face sessions. Especially if you factor the time and money needed to see a counsellor face-to-face. For example, our service can cost as little as 89p per minute, with the added advantage of being accessible at any time.
  • You are not actually, physically, faced with a therapist. This may be better for clients who feel particularly anxious about having counselling.
  • The client is in control of their therapy as they are choosing when to call rather than waiting for an appointment, which is empowering for clients.
  • Clients can arrange to speak to the same therapist on a set day and time each week if they wish. This encourages continuation in the client’s therapeutic journey and saves time explaining the situation to a different therapist the following week, which also encourages the strengthening of the therapeutic relationship.
  • Telephone counselling allows the client to remain as anonymous as they choose to be.
  • The ideal form of therapy for clients who do not have access to transport or perhaps live in a remote location.


However, like with any other type of therapy, there are also some disadvantages with this method of delivery. We've listed a few of the most important ones in the following section


Disadvantages of telephone counselling

  • Bundles. The majority of telephone counselling services sell bundles of minutes which clients buy to use talking to a counsellor. Other services work based on subscriptions. We examine the different options available, with pricing on this post.

  • Lack of privacy for some clients, such as single parents who have to juggle between looking after the children and participating in therapy. This is more of an issue for the client to manage rather than the therapy provider.

  • Lack of continuation. If a client calls and wants to speak with the same therapist each week however that particular therapist is unavailable next time the client calls and has to settle for speaking to a different therapist instead. Some services, like Instant Counselling, allow you to choose the same therapist, and to arrange more sessions with him or her. This facilitates the process of continuing long-term therapy with the same telephone counsellor.

  • The fact that clients are not seeing a counsellor in person could be an issue for some clients. However, for some, not seeing the counsellor face-to-face allows them to open up more easily, which can lead to deeper engagement between the caller and the therapists in less amount of time.


Before accessing any form of counselling, it is vital to ensure that you are seeking therapy for your own reasons rather than being coerced into counselling by a friend, family member of professional. Having therapy is a big step which can be life-changing if you wish it to be, entering counselling is the beginning of a fascinating journey of self-exploration and self-discovery.