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.