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The Burgeoning Market of Online Counselling Firms in India

ET Cases, 4 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Deepti Nair and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

The Burgeoning Market of Online Counselling Firms in India


Expected Learning Outcomes

• The factors contributing to the rise of online counselling firms in India
• Online counselling as a boon or a bane
• Building an ecosystem using an individual’s emotional upheaval as a foundation



Online Counselling: Growing Popularity in the Indian Market

1. Counselling has generally been perceived as a sign of weakness and has been often regarded as a measure for only those who suffer from a serious emotional imbalance. Do you agree with this view? Justify your stand.

2. Have you ever experienced an emotional upheaval or an emotional deficit? If yes, what has been your recourse? What has been your experience of such an intervention?

3. According to you, when does an individual resort to counselling? What are the common barriers that prevent individuals from seeking counselling?

4. What reasons have contributed to the rise of online counselling? Do you think the rise of online counselling firms can act as a substitute for the conventional ‘face-to-face’ counselling?

5. .................

Online Counselling: Providing Effective Emotional Anchoring?

1. The accompanying article highlights a rise in the number of individuals relying on online counselling for dealing with their personal and professional emotional upheavals. What does it indicate from the standpoint of the existing social fabric and the emotional architecture available to an individual?

2. Given the nature of the clientele’s requirements and the imminent need for trust, how do you think online counselling firms can build the trust quotient among its clientele?

3. ....................

Online Counselling: Boon or Bane?

1. The author in the accompanying article says, “Sharing one’s emotional turmoil to a faceless…from my psyche.” Do you think taking help in such personal matters from a faceless stranger is appropriate?

2. Do you think an online counsellor’s empathy levels can be as befitting as would be desired by the person in need?

3. ................

Teaching Note Preview

The Burgeoning Market of Online Counselling Firms in India



This case flyer focuses on the issue of the rapidly rising online counselling firms in the Indian landscape. It deliberates on the contributing factors for the growth of online counselling firms and discusses the reasons for the growing need of individuals to seek emotional guidance. The accompanying article showcases the manner in which online counselling firms have provided an effective and easily accessible platform for sharing one’s deepest emotions. Can online counselling firms act as a substitute for personal counselling? What are the dangers in sharing one’s personal emotions with a faceless stranger? Interestingly, online counselling has been wholeheartedly embraced by the otherwise reluctant Indian audiences who have for long shied away from seeking professional counselling. What precautions should the online counselling firms take to distinguish a genuine psychological counselling requirement from an addiction-based requirement?

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • The factors contributing to the rise of online counselling firms in India
  • • Online counselling as a boon or a bane
  • • Building an ecosystem using an individual’s emotional upheaval as a foundation


Positioning and Setting

This case flyer can be used in the following course:

  • a) Organizational Behavior – Emotions and Moods – How does an individual’s mood and emotional framework define his/her effectiveness as a leader?


Suggested Orchestration

Before the Case Flyer Discussion

a) The students were asked to watch the movie Shrink, which showcases how the protagonist, a renowned therapist and the author of a highly successful self-help book, helps people deal with their life problems. It highlights the various counselling needs of a host of individuals, most of them being luminary film personalities, each undergoing his/her own life crisis. It would be interesting for the students to watch and understand the protagonist’s struggle in coping-up with his own life issues, despite being the sounding board to innumerable problem-driven individuals.

b) Watching this movie before the case flyer discussion will not only help sensitize students towards the concept of counselling and the various reasons that trigger the need for therapy but will also make them aware of the challenges that a counsellor faces while dealing with a plethora of cases.

c) Students were also asked to read the article, Primal Leadership. This article would help them gain an insight into how moods and emotions influence an individual’s leadership style and its bearing on an organization’s productivity.

d) Most importantly, prior to the actual classroom discussion, the students should be encouraged to analyze all the questions given in the case flyer (either individually or in learning teams or in appropriate discussion forums) to enable them to participate effectively and enrich the learning outcomes.

During the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

This case flyer can effectively be discussed in the classroom under the three broad topics.


The flow of questions to be discussed in the classroom has been elaborated in Annexure (TN)-I: The Board Plan

I. Online Counselling: Growing Popularity in the Indian Market

• The discussion commenced by asking students to recollect the counselling scenes from the movie and to discuss whether they regarded counselling as a resort for the weak and emotionally disturbed. Students were divided in their view. While majority of them refuted this notion, it was interesting to note that some students argued that counselling was generally resorted to only when an individual was deeply emotionally disturbed.

• At this point students were asked if they had ever experienced or undergone an emotional upheaval and what measures did they resort to in order to cope-up with the same. Interestingly, some students had resorted to counselling while coping-up with their life challenges.

• Sensing the heightened interest in the concept of counselling, the discussion was taken further by deliberating on the scenarios/situations in which individuals chose to resort to counselling. This response was evaluated using the following graph [Exhibit (TN)-I]..............


Exhibit (TN)-I: Situations for Resorting to Counselling

Exhibit (TN)-II: Barriers to Seeking Counselling

Exhibit (TN)-III: Leader’s Emotional Style and Organization’s Productivity


Annexure (TN)-I: Board Plan

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Product code: OB-4-0010, OB-4-0010A


This case flyer and the accompanying article1 enable a discussion on the astounding growth of online counselling firms and the growing need for psychological counselling among working professionals and students, alike. It offers a platform to deliberate on the various reasons that have made online counselling a popular medium for sharing one's emotions. What are the critical success factors for online counselling firms? How should online counselling firms differentiate their service offerings? Given the nature of the industry, trust building becomes an essential ingredient for building successful online counselling firms.
Can social media platforms help online counselling firms in building trust amongst its existing and potential clientele? Indians have for long shied away from discussing matters pertaining to their emotions with professional therapists. Online counselling firms have gifted Indian audiences a mask which offers them the ease of communicating with a professional without disclosing their identities. Can an online counsellor's empathy levels be as befitting as desired by the person in need? Can constant and regular online counselling degenerate into an unwarranted addiction or weakness?

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the contributing factors for the growth of online counselling firms in India
  • To discuss whether online counselling is a boon or a bane
  • To understand how companies are building an ecosystem using an individual's emotional upheaval as a foundation

1 Shramana Ganguly, 'Lonely? Get a Handle, There's Help Online', The Economic Times, November 9th 2013

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Flyer
- Analysis

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