Remote counselling support 'break down'

We now find ourselves - perhaps much faster than we planned on - entering into an accelerated digital era of remote working and less direct contact face to face. The pandemic of 2020 has brought this home to us yet it has been developing for many years, especially in the USA and later to the UK. 


Counselling therapy is no longer confined to the therapy room and can be accessed from wherever you are in the world. Weighing up the pros and cons can be helpful in deciding if face to face or remote therapy is right for us.

Cons are the expectations:

  • That counselling has to be face to face to be effective. Yes, some people prefer this as they may rely on the body language, the energy flow between them and others, to feel confident in what they are sharing (perhaps unconsciously but true nevertheless).
  • That face to face is a natural tendency, but with awareness (not even practice) you can develop those skills for online video support too, if you give it a chance.  You may be surprised how useful this can be - and convenient.

Clients are finding it just as effective by video too. Telephone counselling, once you start to use it, is also really helpful in sharing and reducing all that anxiety, worry and uncertainty you've been storing up for …how long?!

  • Another negative belief or 'con' for some potential clients is that it is less personal and intensive. It isn't. Counsellors will naturally 'read' what is happening on screen as well as face to face, and also listen to intonations, what isn't said as well as what is said - and how.
  • A third is that you, the client, may not be as committed to attend because it's from work or home - distractions, timing, privacy. But this is the client's option, their responsibility to manage that and to choose how committed they are to their own wellbeing and reducing the problems they need to face to resolve.
  • A change of scenery or environment can give you a different perspective sometimes, and also that level of privacy you might not get at work or home because counselling is often held at appropriate locations, even dedicated office space created for comfort and privacy.

The pros then include:

  • Convenience, which is the obvious one. The ability to stay home with a child or elder care responsibilities, alongside physical ability restrictions for whatever reasons and reducing travel time that adds to the personal commitment clients need to make to the process (not just the odd session).
  • Comfortable surroundings where you are likely to feel less threatened, less stressed and uncomfortable to more able to open up and share what is going on (in part because that is where you often find yourself mulling over the problems you are working through).
  • Quick and easy to arrange at short notice - a video meet can be requested and immediate connection if the counsellor offers that for new clients or those struggling with a crisis, and simply an email invitation with a link or just an invite from the platform the counsellor is using.
  • It may be slightly cheaper per session too, but the counsellors time, if not the physical office space, will be charged for.
  • Timing of appointments may be more convenient for you if a counsellor works from home, for example, without the limitation of travelling, parking, costs and particular working hours at an office location. Later evenings, earlier mornings, different days or hours, even weekends might be possible if that would suit more. 

So, if you aren't sure about phone or video counselling support, these points can give you more insights and ideas on how you might manage it more effectively than you anticipate.   If you are in real need of help right now, but have put it off until you can have face to face support, then maybe think again and make yourself happier and healthier by trying something new that could really work for you!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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