In the current climate, most counsellors are offering online counselling sessions via Zoom / Skype / other video conferencing platforms. Working online technically allows practitioners to work with clients anywhere in the world, however before starting the work together, we would need to check that we are allowed to practice in the given country. The US, for example, requires counsellors to have a masters degree or doctorate, which I and many counsellors based in the UK do not have because it is not a requirement here.
While there are many similarities with face to face counselling, there are some important differences. Below are some details of what online counselling is and how it works.
What is the difference with face to face counselling?
Online counselling provides an opportunity to explore issues in a confidential, safe and flexible environment. We would work together in the same way as face to face however there is much more opportunity to be flexible and meet at different times if needed. My preference would be to continue meeting at the same time every week, though as this does lend itself to stability in the relationship.
As we will likely both be in our own homes when we meet, effort needs to be made to conduct sessions in a private, quiet room without distractions. In face to face work we wouldn’t expect to be disturbed – similarly we should be aiming for privacy when meeting online.
If you prefer to meet in an outside area, I suggest that the environment is as quiet as possible. Again, the flexibility of working online means we can have counselling in our cars, in cafes, in public parks and even libraries – bear in mind that not every environment is ideal. In my opinion, home is the best place to do counselling, where possible.
From time to time technical glitches do occur and delayed responses on Zoom are common, particularly at peak times or when other members in the household are using the internet (for example, downloading or streaming). The post pandemic world of working from home has produced a number of new pet peeves such as the dreaded buffering wheel – we’ve all seen it!
For the sake of providing a reasonable service I will endeavour to have a good internet connection and ask the same of the client. Where glitches are making it difficult to continue with the session, I will contact you on the phone so that we may continue our work.