There are a few aspects of the physical ‘face-to-face’, in person and in the same room, interpersonal exchange that aren’t present in the online world of e-counseling psychotherapy.
Here are some things for you to consider about working online (i.e. video counseling, instant messaging or emailing).
*Working with A Webcam
Those facial and body ‘cues and clues’ which we use to understand one another aren’t quite the same online as they are in person. Video and voice difficulties can make for trying communication at times, however, this is part of the medium, isn’t it! We can address any ambiguity or difficulty in communication that arises in the process of our interpersonal online exchange with a combination of patience and engagement in building and keeping a good ‘online bond’.
Some of you might prefer to engage counseling psychotherapy by email exclusively or some might want to mix work via skype or some other video linking network. This means that good and clear email communication will be linked to writing ability, style and attitudes. Not all of us are comfortable with writing or feel good about our writing ability. It takes a good online bond, patience, personal engagement and an experimental openness in order for you and I to understand each other’s writing and meaning. I will certainly be sure to clarify what it is that I understand in what you write and you will have to do the same.
There is of course flexibility when we meet and work in cyberspace. We can meet via video and/or write at anytime that is convenient for both us. We can be 1000’s of kilometres away from each other and still come together as client and counseling psychotherapist. This means less time and money spent on travel, what a wonderful thing! With email, communication has a lag in response time. This can be good in having more time to read and reflect on responses or on what we want to write. Sometimes though we want a quicker response and this unfortunately is not always possible with email. Instant messaging and video network talking is of course more synchronous.
A ‘disinhibiting effect’ in counseling psychotherapy by email is something that perhaps you will really like as you are you online! You may find that you express more of your feelings and more of the aspects of what is troubling you in the more anonymous environment of online work. Like all forms of counseling or therapy, authentic engagement of the process is a requirement if results are to be obtained.
It is true - our computers do freeze, internet connections can be less than hospitable and we can be without our computer when we want to work. However, rescheduling is still easy.
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