The pros and cons of counselling by Skype
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Basia Spalek Accredited Member MBACP, PhD, MSc, Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy
11th July, 20160 Comments
Counselling by Skype is becoming increasingly popular amongst both clients and counsellors. The use of technology in counselling is particularly prevalent in the US, although more and more people now in the UK are beginning to use internet based counselling services. There are both positive and negative aspects to consider when deciding whether or not to try a Skype counselling session.
Firstly, some of the positives. You can stay within the comfort of your own home as you don't have to travel to a counsellor's house or to a clinic. This means that you won't have to spend money or time on travel, particularly important given how congested our roads are nowadays. You also don't have to worry about how you are going to get to the location where your counsellor is based. Having a Skype counselling session at home also means that you can be surrounded by the things that you like and feel relaxed with. You can get just as much eye contact as you would being in the same room as the counsellor. If you have an animal companion they can be in the room with you, provided that they are not too noisy or distracting! You can also enjoy having a cup of tea as you sit by your computer. Other benefits of Skype counselling include you being able to choose a counsellor based on whether or not you feel you will connect with them or based on their particular specialisms, rather than choosing a counsellor simply because they live in your local area. There may also be more flexibility in terms of the times that you book a counselling session for.
In terms of some possible disadvantages to counselling by Skype, these include that it may take a while to feel comfortable when speaking in front of a computer, particularly if you have not done this before. If you are feeling emotionally distressed then the counsellor won't be in the same room with you. However, it may be easier to stay at home and have a Skype counselling session rather than be travelling if you are feeling vulnerable. Sometimes Skype may not work and so you may need to re-schedule an appointment. You may also find the picture on your screen a little dark or you may have to invest in some headphones in order to be able to hear properly what the counsellor is saying.
Ultimately there are no easy answers, but Skype counselling might be something to consider and to try.
About the author
Basia Spalek is a practising psychotherapist, and is a professor in conflict transformation. Basia enjoys walking and running in nature and is interested in helping people to grow therapeutically.
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