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Online chat is the new black

Online Chat is the New Black

Online Chat is the New Black 1500 1000 admin

With the onset of the Covid Pandemic, I, like many other therapists have had to build on the concept of working remotely to continue to support my clients. Having worked previously on a helpline supporting trauma clients, I was used to working remotely over the telephone and was comfortable doing so.

However online therapy was as new to me as it was my clients and if it hadn’t been down to necessity it may have taken me more time to consider it.

Firstly it is worth noting that online therapy is not for every one and many of my clients who have suffered traumatic experiences have chosen to wait to see me in person, whilst the government guidelines were finalised. For others however the opportunity to work remotely has been embraced and I have found that making the therapeutic connection needed with my clients not impacted by not being able to work face to face.

Over the last few months clients that have chosen to work remotely with me have given me their insights into what the benefits have been for them.

One of the most significant findings is that clients wishing to work within the specialisms that I offer are able to access me, regardless of both of our geographical locations, giving them the appropriate support required. Time restrictions too have played a huge role. Taking away the travel time to see me and other considerations like childcare has meant that individuals can now log on from the comfort of their own homes. Couples seeking counselling have found that both of them are able to manage work and time restrictions a lot easier when scheduling in a zoom meeting. Therapy has also become more accessible for people who struggle to leave their own homes for many reasons, including physical and mental conditions. Cost as always has played a huge part in people seeking therapy. I have been able to reduce the cost of online therapy as my costs have decreased, with the absence of office hire no longer needed.

Taking into account the benefits above, the real surprise for me have been some of my clients comments. Many have spoken about how they feel so more at ease in their own home. Others have spoken about the experience being less daunting than face to face work, allowing them to explore issues at a deeper level. Alternatively, others have spoken that they find that remote work offers them a level of anonymity and has taken away the fear of being completely transparent with issues that they are struggling with.

Of course, as always, personal choice should dictate in which way an individual chooses to engage in therapy. Given that unsure times are still ahead of us and changes to the way in which we work possible, remote counselling looks like a very feasible option and one that I feel is here to stay.

No way out? Domestic abuse during lockdown

No way out? Domestic abuse during lockdown 1500 1000 admin

The Office for National Statistics recorded a total of 1,316.800 domestic abuse incidents and crimes in the year ending March 2019, a 24% increase from the previous year.

Domestic abuse will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men, during their lifetime. Two women on average per week are murdered and 30 men per year. To date, as I write this in the coronavirus lock down domestic abuse helplines have recorded a rise of 25% in calls to them.

Domestic abuse is not always overt in its appearance, aside from the more obvious bruises and broken bones of the physical trauma to the body. It is defined by an incident or a pattern of incidents that includes psychological or emotional abuse, financial abuse, coercive control, harassment or stalking, online or digital abuse and physical or sexual abuse.

The abuse rarely happens overnight. Instead it is a gradual and insidious process that can begin barely noticeably over a period of time and intensifies as the perpetrator gains more control over their victims lives. In my years of working with domestic abuse, the perpetrators aim is always one of complete control of the individuals right to be able to claim their own autonomy to lead their life in the way they choose by exerting their authority over anothers. The techniques they use are myriad but all are one of establishing absolute control.

The continual abuse over days, months and years obliterates the victims sense of self and destroys their belief system, allowing the perpetrator to become more dominant in their aim. Furthermore they sometimes seek to alienate friends and family, isolating the victim further, whilst often portraying themselves to the world as someone very different from that of the reality.

The emotional and physical impact from continual trauma to the person will present itself differently in each individual, impacting over a broad spectrum of issues. However one thing is consistent is that the abuse can continue to have ramifications throughout the victims lives, whether they are still in an abusive relationship or have managed to have escaped one.

The good news is that they can and do recover and go on to lead lives free of the abuse and are able to take back the control that has been denied and taken away from them. The first step is always the hardest, not only making that initial contact but by sometimes acknowledging to themselves that they are or have been in an abusive relationship.

If you are, or there is someone you know who is an abusive relationship, there are people that can help. They can offer emotional support, advice, legal advice and in some cases, safe houses where you are protected.

If you are in immediate danger, please call the Police on 999

Finally if you need to talk to me about any of the above issues, I specialise in working with domestic abuse, helping to re-establish control over your life, rebuilding your self-belief system and working corroboratively to help you move forward, leaving the impact of the trauma in the past.

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