Online or In Person Counselling? A Counsellor's Insight

February 22, 2019

Monique reflects on moving to online client contact

As a counsellor and therapist, I value in person appointments for providing a unique human connection.

After 18 months of online counselling, I wonder, can counsellors and therapists continue to provide support and enable an open, relaxed context when they are  connected via the phone or a video call?

I say yes! Banking, marketing, sales, administration and book keeping are examples of online services with a client focus.

Client safety was central to my reflections re online service.

We observe that minimising in person connections through self isolation and lockdowns can inhibit the spread of infections and viruses while also increasing anxiety, depression, loneliness and an inability to cope.  

Many people report experiencing anxiety and fear of exposing or being exposed to disease transmission/exchange which therapists and clients working remotely can avoid.

However some people who attend counselling are feeling very isolated and distressed. Self harm ideation and suicide ideation can surface and counselling services do not have the capability to respond to emergencies. This is an area where hospitals and police can intervene to prevent harm. First responders can get to you quickly.  Your GP has the capacity to support you also.

If you feel unsafe, talk, talk, talk, family friends, telehealth service to get you through.

In New Zealand, we do have many brief intervention and crisis services available.  Please view the FAQs section to see available emergency service.

An appointment with your therapist can also assist you to reduce the distress, calm down and work through your situation at the next available appointment.

Having regular contact with a skilled clinician who knows your history can provide great support at challenging times and assist you to work things out.

Yes face to face would be ideal.  As in the picture above the feel of being relaxed and open in the presence of another person is priceless.  

Authentic contact via phone or video call can provide support at challenging times.

Ahakoa he iti he pounamu

Although it is small, it is greenstone

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