I began to include working online with clients during 2017 when I was approached by someone based offshore who was facing some real challenges. Later, I was privileged to meet this same client ‘in person’ at my York office. I realised that our work had progressed in much the same way as if we’d had ‘face to face’ sessions across the same room all along.
Counselling Online or ‘In Person’?
When we meet for online counselling sessions we are ‘face to face’ and we are ‘in person’. Online sessions are ‘in person’ and our relational contact contains the same elements as it would if we were in the same room. Specifically;
- I offer you my full attention
- I offer empathic attunement
- I adopt a non-judgemental position
- I bring my most genuine and authentic self into our relationship
These are the ‘core conditions’ of the person-centred approach which invite growthful change – whether we are in the same room or not.
Surely, online counselling is different?
Yes, it is. My own experience of the differences are that;
- being a client online means creating an effective counselling space in our own home or office. This may not be possible for everyone. There is more on this below.
- where a client is at risk of psychiatric relapse, or behaviours which could be of harm to themselves or others, then meeting at the same location offers greater consistency of practical support. Again, there is more on this below.
- there may be technical limitations around reliable access to the internet rather than practical difficulties arriving at an office.
- there is a potential for greater ‘dis-inhibition’ or openness which needs to be met with awareness.
Every client brings unique experiences to counselling. I would say that the differences between working online or in the same room are generally less than the differences I encounter between each client contract.
Creating an Effective Space
When we meet online you’ll need a space which is quiet and comfortable for an hour.
There’s more guidance on creating an effective online counselling space here, where you can also download an information sheet.
Also, I made this short ‘how to’ video (under 3 minutes) which shows some of things you might like to consider.
If you are in crisis or experiencing some other acute or severe situation then online counselling is not the way forward. This means if you face the risk of harming yourself or others, of being abused, or of psychiatric relapse. If this is the case I recommend you read these notes on risk.
Making a start
The part of you that is seeking a way forwards has brought you this far. For individual clients I offer an initial session without fee, and without any pressure at the end to make a decision.
I would say, contact me by using the contact form below. Let’s talk about how we might work together.