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How Does Online Counselling Work?

Updated: May 4, 2020

Here are some the advantages, of conducting Online Counselling that you may not appreciate..

Firstly, you need to understand what is meant by the term 'Online Counselling'.

Most people will assume it means talking via a video link like Zoom or Skype. This is true but how about telephone counselling? And some therapists even offer email counselling.

Each therapist will use their preferred video chat platform that they feel provides the most secure connection in terms of privacy and confidentiality. The client and therapist can see each other and respond as normal to facial expressions and reactions of the other person, just as if they were in the same room. Of course, body language cannot be so readily interpreted but that is a minor negative when you take into account the range of positives that are present.

The client has the convenience of not having to travel to and from the therapists office. This alone can be a huge time saver. Some people are put off by the fact that they may be spotted entering the premises and would feel embarrassed if it were to happen, so removing that risk is a definite bonus for some. For many clients there is a greater feeling of safety and security when they are sitting in their own familiar surroundings at home and this can lead to them being more willing to explore their situation as they feel more at ease and comfortable.

For some people, just leaving the house can prove to be a traumatic experience so being able to obtain counselling without having to endure that particular event is a huge positive.

With telephone counselling many people enjoy the anonymity of being 'invisible'. It's a fact that some people just refuse to get counselling because they fear being judged or even seen. When sessions take place over a telephone that self consciousness is partly removed, enabling the person to get far more effective help from the therapist. A person is much more likely to explore what is going on for them if they don't feel so crippled with worrying about how they look.

What should I look for in an Online Counsellor?

Just do what you'd normally do. Look for a therapist that is not only qualified, but also has training in working online. At this time there is no recognised specific qualification for online counselling. However, regulatory bodies such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) lay down guidelines for their members that they should ensure they have certain 'competencies' when it comes to working with clients online.

One way to gauge whether this is true of a particular therapist you may be considering is to look at the communications you get from him.

Do you feel confused?

Are you being reassured as to how the online process will work?

Do you feel they will guide you through the technical side if you're struggling with new types of software?

Do you know what happens if you get disconnected?

Asking questions like this will help you to decide whether the online counsellor you're considering is likely to be a good fit for you.

Even if you can accept that conducting counselling online can be just as effective as meeting in the more traditional face-to-face way, there is still no denying it's an alien concept to a lot of people so do all the checks you would normally do before committing to your therapist. Don't be scared to ask questions.

For a little more information about Online Counselling options, click here


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