Is the current Corona virus crisis stopping you from seeking out therapy? Do you want to get to therapy more regularly, but something keeps getting in your way? Are you looking to try out therapy but have trouble finding the time or leaving the house? E-therapy might be the solution. If you are trying to figure out whether e-therapy could be a good fit for you. If you’re already comfortable with the idea of e-therapy and want to know more about how it actually works, read on!
I am really excited about e-therapy because it has the amazing potential to work the same if not better than conventional face to face therapy. Online counselling offers exciting new treatment options for clients, But, like most technology, e-therapy will only work when clients truly understand its capabilities and give full consideration to its strengths and limitations.
This post will hopefully help you understand the technical side of e-counselling. I want to point out the options available to you and how they work. By the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of which online tools are best suited to meet your needs, and how we could use technology to allow clients to access therapy in the same way if not more successfully than the conventional sessions.
What is E-Therapy?
E-therapy—also known as virtual therapy, e-counselling, telepsychology or cyber-counselling—is a therapeutic intervention that takes place online instead of in person.
You can choose between TWO communication formats: VIDEO or TEXT-BASED (written)
For both video and text-based modalities you can use your computer, smart-phone or tablet. Just as in conventional therapy, your rights remain the same, and your data and personal information remain secure, and
1. VIDEO Communication:
Video counselling is very similar to a face to face session except that we meet online, on our respective screens! It is basically a FaceTime, Skype or Zoom call.
People choose video-counselling because it’s most like meeting face-to-face. But it has the convenience of saving travel time, overcoming mobility issues, and it offers access from, and from the comfort of your own home.. Furthermore in the current climate of social distancing it means we can still have a worthwhile session, and continue a therapeutic journey, or start a new one.
2. TEXT-BASED Communication:
Choosing text-based therapy means we’ll communicate in writing. You can choose from a “chat” or messaging style conversation or an email-style exchange.
Some clients find themselves less inhibited communicating in writing instead of meeting face-to-face. Writing may make people pause and think about their responses versus ranting, venting, exploding, or blurting, which is more typical in live conversation. It makes us stop and think about what we are writing instead of getting ‘caught up in the moment’
If you choose TEXT-BASED therapy you can choose two formats:
1. CHAT / MESSAGING:
A chat conversation is a series of text messages that occur in real time. Many people have become comfortable with instant messaging or “texting” and a chat session is similar to the exchange you would have with a friend or colleague using the messaging software on your smartphone.
Our email conversation may or may not take place in real time. The advantage of using email vs. chat is that we can craft longer responses.
A real-time session would involve a series of back and forth messages. Or you can post your session at a set appointment time and I will similarly respond at a set time hours or days later at an agreed time. These appointments let you write your session at a time that feels convenient for you. You can wait until you’re “in the mood,” and have no distraftions or other demands on your time. This also gives you space for reflection or to ad to your notes as the week goes on, which can be especially useful if you’re tracking thought records, goal-setting, etc.
Other uses for E-therapy:
E-therapy has also evolved some other uses that are noteworthy:
1. Checking-in between sessions: Email or messaging software can be used as a way to give clients connection and support between sessions. Some clients may really appreaciate check-ins between sessions or if they can send progress reports, accountability updates, thought records, entries, or other forms of homework. Not everyone needs this additional support, but it can be a valuable touchstone for clients in crisis or who need extra attention at certain stages of their treatment. Check-ins do need to be pre-arranged in keeping with boundaries and expectations on both sides.
2. Group Therapy: E-therapy is a great tool for connecting groups of people who may be seeking connection and support for specific issues, conditions or challenges, and who are for various reasons unable or not interested in in-person meetings. These groups can create community while also offering anonymity, which can be appealing and sometimes disinhibiting. Split screen technology helps make groups more effective.
Is there anything else I need to know?
The software I use does require a short time for set-up (less than five minutes initially, a fraction of that time to login after you’re set up). Tech support is always available and there’s an app for your phone. This might sound scary, but it take literally moments to set up, and once its done, it is very easy to hold a meeting.
Does it really work?
I wondered this myself – using a lot of hypnotherapy I wondered how I would fare running a session online, however it has proven to be very successful. So successful in fact I have recently run a number of ‘group hypnotherapy sessions’ which have also been useful.
I think the fact that you are in your own home, are in a safe surrounding, and can control your environment helps greatly in making e-therapy a valuable, different but enjoyable alternative to standard therapy sessions.
So what do I have to do
It is really important you choose a time, and a place where you can limit being disturbed. It would be easy to think, that because you are at home, you can go about your daily chores, organise the kids, have supper cooking and throw in some therapy at the same time……NO!
What is important is you have no distractions, you can focus on you, no one will barge in demanding new batteries for the remote or xbox controller, and pets are not there to make demand on your attention either. Peace, comfort, relaxed, quiet and space guaranteed. These combined are what is desired to make sure your theraputic time spent online with me will be meaningful, and right for you.
Is it right for you?
You are the best person to answer this question. Maybe the answer is “sometimes, under the right circumstances. Maybe it’s a case of you have to try it to find out. Maybe there is no way you can imagine yourself talking to your computer about the things that are troubling you in life. The thing is we are all having to change the way we are working, thinking and going about our lives to cope with the Covid 19 situation and maybe w just need to take a first step in.
As my logo says, ‘Brave Journeys begin with small steps’
E-therapy is still a new and evolving technology. As a practitioner, I think it’s important to acknowledge this, and to have open and ongoing conversations to work out the practices and strategies that best enhance YOUR individual experience. I’m excited and optimistic about the digital future of therapy that has been thrust upon us, even while I remain committed to the idea that true, human connection is always at the heart of healing.
If you would like more information, contact me for a FREE 20-minute phone consultation or book an appointment here.