Online counselling can include a wide range of mediums from online messaging to video calls. While still offering the same level of confidentiality and support as a typical face-to-face counselling session. Online counselling has been used for many years but in recent years has grown in popularity and has become the chosen method of counselling during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Online counselling offers qualified counsellor such as myself the opportunity to provide sessions from further away and with more flexibility to fit more conveniently into your schedule instead of being confined to typical working hours.
Online counselling can be through various mediums including:
• Video calls
However, I offer online counselling using phone calls and video calls whichever is more appropriate. Sessions will be carried out in a private room to ensure that confidentiality is maintained. It is important that you are able to carry out the sessions in a private and quiet location to ensure that you are able to talk freely and experience minimal disturbances from other people, pets, phones or any screen activity that may interrupt the session.
Telephone counselling- this method of counselling will take place over the phone. As with typical counselling sessions, appointments will be pre-scheduled for a set time and day of the week and will be carried out for 50 minutes.
Video calls counselling- the use of visual and audio feedback, allows for a more organic flow of conversation. Video call will be undertaken using either the online platform Zoom or WhatsApp video calls. Sessions will be at a set time and day of the week that is suitable for all parties and will be for a 50-minute duration like typical face-to-face sessions.
Online counselling is different from face-to-face counselling and can have both advantages and disadvantages. These can be discussed before online counselling begin and can be reviewed regularly to ensure that this means of contact is still most appropriate and your needs are being meet.
Advantages of online counselling:
Accessibility- evenings and weekends are often popular appointment times and are often in high demand. The use of online counselling can offer more flexibility in timings to make it easier to receive the support that's needed.
For individuals that have mobility issues or disabilities that may make it difficult or stressful to get to a counsellors office, online counselling can help to overcome these barriers to ensure that all that need support are able to receive it.
Convenience- the ability to access support from your own home without having the inconvenience of having to travel can be vary appealing. This can help to save both money and time and allow those in more isolated areas to have greater access to qualified counsellors.
Openness- being able to communicate from your home can allow the opportunity to feel more comfortable about opening up or discussion more sensitivity subjects when there is a buffer provided by a phone or screen.
Disadvantages of online counselling:
Ease of Use- not everyone has access to a computer, phone or the internet making it difficult for those in need to communicate with a counsellor. If you are unable to receive help in this manner it may be more appropriate to have face-to-face counselling.
Technology issues- issues with technology such as internet connection troubles, computer errors, network connectivity problems and dropped calls can cause interruptions to a session and may lead to feelings of frustration. We will agree an alternate method to carry on the counselling should the call drop during a session.
Basic computer literacy skills and a stable internet connect can help individuals to get more out of their session but will not limit your ability to use online counselling if you wish too.
Is online counselling right for you?
If there are barriers that make face-to-face counselling difficult, daunting, difficult to access then considering online counselling may be a good alternative and may help you to feel more comfortable.
There is no right or wrong way to have counselling, it is perfectly fine to start with one method and to later switch to an alternative method if you are uncomfortable or feel that a change will help you to get the most out of your counselling sessions.