Tips when considering Online/Telephone Counselling
Since COVID 19, online and telephone counselling has been a popular alternative. Many counsellors including myself have transferred to online or telephone, and whilst some, are going back to face to face slowly it would certainly seem, that online and telephone therapy is here to stay and perhaps will be a bigger part of counselling in the future.
But how can you tell if it is going to a good fit for you?
Here are a few things to consider when thinking about online or telephone counselling......
Counsellors who offer online and telephone counselling have to consider different things when working remotely, including client safety. The British Association of counsellors and psychotherapists recommend a minimum of eighty hours of training for a counsellor to work this way, managing client safety and understanding how different the work can be is paramount.
Many counsellors like myself, who are trained in this way of working are familiar with online safety and the importance of having up to date security and can advise clients on their cybersecurity and end to end encryption software.
What is your relationship with technology?
How comfortable are you with your mobile phone? tablet? or PC?
Let's be honest not all of us have techy brains, I can certainly remember a time where every time I would touch a computer something would go wrong, it was like the thing hated me!
A counsellor should be familiar enough with the software to be able to support you to get to the sessions.
Also as online counsellors, we have to consider cybersecurity, so is your anti-virus up to date? Do you have the bandwidth available with your internet provider to allow webcam counselling?
If at any point there are disconnection or signal issues, then the counsellor should have put a procedure in place for when this happens.
Do you have somewhere private in your home?
Unlike face to face counselling where we have a private room, you need to be able to find somewhere that you can talk freely and that is comfortable for you. For me, as a counsellor, the safety and confidentiality of my clients are so important, so having a private space for an hour is essential.
How do you feel about what you are bringing to counselling?
The reasons people come to counselling are varied and you may feel that what brings you to counselling is just not appropriate for online or telephone work, and that's ok.
Online and telephone counselling is not suitable for everything, for example, those that have thoughts of suicide, addictions, or disordered eating, however, some organizations can offer a more appropriate service with a wide range of support more suitable for your needs.
Where in the world are you?
You have to consider where you live, as an example, if you have moved to Spain and would like to contact a counselor back here in the Uk that may be an issue. Counsellors who work remotely will be aware of jurisdiction issues and can talk this through with you. The counsellor will need to be familiar with the laws and qualifications needed for the country you are in.
How would you feel not seeing the person you are talking to?
It may feel a little challenging for some people especially with telephone counselling, to not be able to see their therapist there's no body language, so this may cause some to feel disconnected, although many others find a sense of freedom and feel its easier to express how they are feeling, so this is a personal choice.
These are all important things to consider when looking for a counsellor to work with you remotely, don't be afraid to ask them if they can help you with software to get you to the session or if they have a disconnection procedure. We are all happy to answer any questions you may have, and to make counselling a positive accessible experience for everyone.
Let's take a little look, at when remote counselling can be really useful...
With one of my rooms in the center of Exeter, I understand how the traffic can be, especially at those times when its difficult to find a parking space (along with the added cost).
Being in your own space
There something comfortable and safe about snuggling up in your favorite chair, with a blanket and a cuppa whilst having therapy. Especially if you experience social anxiety, this allows you to access therapy whilst feeling secure. Also, many people love being able to have the support of their pets with them and as long as they are not running amuck I find it can really help.
If you have an illness or disability then this may be for you, mobility issues and fatigue can affect many people with certain health conditions and remote counselling will allow you to access therapy in a familiar comfortable space where you have an environment that suits your needs and should you need it your carer can be, nearby.
Ideal for those with a busy lifestyle
Have you considered therapy but just don't seem to have the time?
Many counsellors like myself offer evening online or telephone appointments and with not having to drive and find a parking space, its a better alternative.
As well as being convenient for people who are poorly, this type of counselling can be more accessible for their carers as well. Carers have very busy lives and a huge responsibility, so the option must be there to access this type of service.
I really do feel as a counsellor, that we have a responsibility to give people an informed choice, and for me, this means offering a service where people have all the knowledge they need to decide what's best for them.
If you are experiencing thoughts of harming yourself, it's important that you talk to someone, the samaritans are available all day every day, https://www.samaritans.org/ alternatively phone 116 123 all calls are free.