online counselling

Can I switch to online work during the Corona Crisis?

No marketing post this week but something else that may be of great use to my readers.

This is the question I see most on Facebook groups for therapists. Many countries are in a ‘partial’ lockdown and even if that is not the case, many clients will cancel appointments out of fear. It seems such a logical choice to switch to working from home. And most governments are urging us to work from home if possible.

Yet it is not as simple as it looks when you are a therapist. Working online is a different modality with it’s own pitfalls. And you owe it to your clients to work ethically and not put them at danger. It is not for nothing that ACTO [association for counsellors and therapists online] will only accept members who have had at least 80 hours of training in online work.

For example do you fully understand what it means:

  • To only see a person’s face when you do video therapy?
  • What to do if your connection is bad and video or sound quality is very bad or there is a delay in replies?
  • In text therapy you don’t see the other person at all. Can you read between the lines and build a relationship with you client
  • The disinhibition effect can be overwhelming as well. This means that clients can share a lot more when they don’t see you F2F. Are you prepared for this?

 

Online therapy works very well and all what I mentioned before can learnt. But it can’t be learnt overnight. It takes training. In the resources below I have included links to training providers.

So should I just say no to my clients when they are in a state of panic?

I would say no. I did have an email conversation about this with someone who has been involved in online training for over ten years. And she recommending a policy of ‘holding’ if you are not trained. You stay in touch with your clients so they know they are not in this alone and you gently check up on how they are holding up or if they are in need of more help.

So not therapy but some support so the client knows they are not online.

This is the route I would recommend for now:

  1. Inform all your clients if you have to shut down working F2F. Knowledge is power.
  2. Explain why you can’t provide online therapy.
  3. Provide them with lists of online counsellors who can provide that training if they really need intensive therapy over the next couple of weeks.
  4. If not but they do want some support. Offer them the ‘holding’.
  5. We do not know how long this is going to last so if online work does appeal to you, look into the training options and contact the training providers about possibilities.

If you have any further questions, please get in touch with me.

Resource list:

A great video that explains most of what I have written about:

https://www.facebook.com/stephenpgoss/videos/10221590392572933/

 

Advice from ACTO

https://acto-org.uk/covid-19-coronavirus-advice-from-acto-for-clients-and-non-acto-therapists/

https://acto-org.uk/

 

Resources I use

https://protonmail.com/ [encrypted email]

https://zoom.us/ [A safe platform for working online. Skype is NOT safe]

If you are looking for training. You can ask them if they have a special course on now with the basics in view of Corona.

https://acto-org.uk/online-training-providers/

https://onlinetrainingforcounsellors.com/

 

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