When it comes to counselling, is online second best?

When it comes to counselling, is online second best?

Electronic counselling sessions - online, telephone, video conference, email…..

In 2020 the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown led to changes in every industry - and many unearthed new opportunities and revealed some big positives.

We spoke to Jade Taylor, a counsellor who has traditionally worked face to face for more than 13 years, about the impact electronic counselling sessions have had.

She said: “Over the last three craaaazy months, electronic, or online, wellbeing has become ‘norm’, but actually, undeniably also thought of as ‘second-best’ to what we offered before.

“But I would challenge that view. If you have chosen to go online instead of meeting your health practitioners face-to-face, then please keep reading, because I want to give you a view from the other side….. including as a client…

“I am a counsellor traditionally working face-to-face, working a parallel career with children and families. If I am not traditionally sat in a chair opposite you, or supporting some very challenging behaviours, then I am on the floor with you, or your child, surrounded in art materials and paper and getting messy.

“Previously, when people would contact me they would assume that we would go into a room, and would rarely choose electronic counselling when offered. But now, since we have HAD to, most have said they would be happy to remain that way.

“Why? Because online is just as good! Soak that in and try and believe it.

“If it is done right, then it brings its own advantages. Now, come on, let’s not deny, it can lack that personal interaction and feeling that being in a room together gives us, however, who said that was a bad thing, and undeniably unless you have experienced it, do you know if it is actually something you would prefer? It also gives us freedom, choices and an option to not get so caught up with my/the counsellor’s reactions.

Have a look…..

  • Online and by telephone can be much more relaxed. I find it can slow down the pace of the discussions, and give even more breathing time to reflect on what each of us has just said.

  • On the telephone, you may find that you will sit, or lie-down, or just get into a position that you would not dream of doing if you were in a room with me. How about sat in your garden, lying on your side, on the grass? For just one example.

  • When I am in a session with my Emmette and Kinesiology practitioner, I am laying down on the floor, feeling grounded, soaking in the relaxing environment and feeling more at ease to share my thoughts and feelings. What about you?

  • It gives you freedom, by not having to include the journey or the possible anxiety leading up to the sessions. What happens if you like you counsellor but just don’t settle in a room?

  • It gives you the choice of where you would like to have the session. You could be out and walking during our session if that’s what you would prefer. It gives you the choice to choose where you are comfortable.

“Now I don’t want to give away too many insider-secrets, of how we as counsellors manage the session, but I will say that it does promote openness much easier, especially in regards to the telephone.

“But don’t worry, any good counsellor will be aware of this and maintain any boundaries if needed and keep you safe. Without having to worry about body reactions, facial expressions, what is the counsellor thinking? What if they judge you? You can feel more at ease to share more comfortably.

“On the other side of this, online sessions can feel much more close. Because potentially the camera will show us much closer than we would be in a face-to-face session and this can give a feeling of focus and of being listened to.

“We can also still be creative: no doubt it does limit the interactive fun and messiness of being face-to-face. However, it is not impossible and just takes some planning. From an online point of view: I have actually experienced being able to use a drawing tool much more readily and fluidly within a session, as there is no stopping the flow to obtain art materials and paper, we can just utilise screen share and use the whiteboard function to explore creatively.

“I’m not saying that electronic counselling is for everyone, but if anyone is out there thinking that it is second best, or is not even aware that it is an option, then I am here to challenge the idea, and bring electronic connection into its own deserved limelight, and say… consider it, try it and see what you can possibly gain from it.

“All of the people I have been lucky enough to support during these times, have all said that they find it just as good and many have said they have actually learnt more about themselves.”

Consider these questions when evaluating your own electronic experience:

  • What did you gain from seeing your practitioner face-to-face?

  • What did you gain from seeing them online/electronically?

  • What was the difference?

  • Would you use both methods?

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About the Centre

The Centre for Integral Health was started in 2013 by director Ben Calder after studying Integral theory since 2011 and over 10 years of professional practice of kinesiology and Bowen fascia Release Technique, coupled with the desire to explore the application of the Integral Model in relation to health.

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