As a government Lock down was enforced, counsellors of Ireland have had to find ways to adapt their business and continue to provide a much needed service to their clients and those in need. With this, I myself have had to temporarily close my physical private practice, and move to online platforms. There have been many studies in recent times over the efficacy of remote counselling, with findings showing that it is just as effective as traditional face to face counselling, and in some cases even more effective.
Things to consider if you’re thinking of booking online counselling:
- Ensure you have a decent broadband speed to enable you to have a seamless session without the connection dropping or cutting out.
- Your PC/laptop needs to have a camera and microphone.
- You will need to have the ability to make online payments as cash will not be able to be exchanged.
- You may need to download an application or sign up to specific websites in order to facilitate the call, e.g., Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp.
- Ensure you have a quiet comfortable space to talk, free from distractions. You’ll still want the confidential element of counselling and the privacy it gives you to speak your mind. Consider using headphones for enhanced confidentiality and sound quality.
So, what are the advantages or online counselling?
Availability. Sessions can be scheduled to times that suit you. There is no need to factor in traffic, parking, public transport schedules. Whether you live in a remote location or a city centre apartment, counselling is available to you. For anyone with physical limitations or someone struggling mentally to leave the house, online counselling removes the stresses of making it to a face to face appointment.
Improved Anonymity. Ireland is small. Perhaps your town only has a one or two psychotherapists. Maybe you’re related to one, and the other used to date your brother, babysit you as a child, or you just know you wouldn’t feel comfortable opening up to. In counselling, a dual-relationship is one that overlaps into your personal or professional life outside of the therapeutic relationship with your counsellor. In smaller towns, these are hard to avoid. Online counselling removes this barrier.
Wider Selection. Perhaps you’re looking for a therapist who specialises in a certain area of expertise, or maybe has a specific style. The choice is yours when it comes to online counselling. I, myself, work from a more person centred approach with a passion for CBT. I’ve found myself specialising in General Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Esteem issues, as more and more clients have presented themselves to me as suffering with these over the years. Studies show that the biggest factor in determining success in the therapy sessions, is finding a counsellor you like and trust. Cast your net wide and find someone who is the best fit for you.
Cost. While most counsellors charge the same amount for remote counselling as they do for face to face sessions, there are some ways in which it is more cost effective for the client. Firstly, there are no travel costs. No more paying for parking, petrol, or bus fares. Also, perhaps you’re having to take time off work in order to make it to the therapy room to fit in with the 9 – 5 session availability. With most providing extended working hours, this is no longer an issue.
Increased Comfort. As online sessions will take place in your own home, there is the added comfort of being in a familiar safe place. There is no stress that you may bump into someone you know on your way into or out of the therapy location. One big thing for my female clients in particular, is that they want to know where the bathroom is after an emotional session so they can check their face for signs of crying etc, before going back out in public. At home, this concern wont even cross your mind.
Increased Psycho-education. In some ways, I think that there can be increased learning in online counselling. Its easier during remote sessions to send clients links to websites, pdf work sheets, or articles, instantly. Psycho-education is important as it provides clients with information and other resources to understand the possible cause, symptoms and coping strategies of their presenting issues.
For more information on Online Counselling provided by me at Cork City Therapy, please feel free to contact me directly via phone or the contact form http://corkcitytherapy.ie/contact/