What is Online or Distance Counseling?
Distance counseling goes by many names. Some call it: e-therapy, internet counseling, e-counseling, tele-medicine, or video counseling. It’s simply having a counseling session where the client is in a different location from the therapist via some form of technology. If your counseling need is appropriate for distance counseling, you can either solely receive counseling via one medium, or any combination of them. I am able to provide distance counseling through 3 platforms – Video Conferencing, email sessions and phone sessions. Each of these is described below in more detail.
ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE/DISTANCE COUNSELING:
- Accessibility – People who would not be able to access face to face counseling because of location, transportation, or other reason can still receive therapy.
- Convenience – Timing can be more flexible therefore eliminating the struggle of finding times to meet even in different parts of the world.
- An extra sense of anonymity – you can receive counseling right in the privacy of your own home.
- Affordability – little to no time away from work, less travel, etc.
- Email counseling allows you to digest what the therapist has said many times as there is a written account of the therapeutic intervention
Video conferencing counseling sessions – these sessions are held on a HIPPA compliant video platform (similar to Skype). I use CounSol and/or VSee. These sessions are very similar to face to face sessions as we are able to see each other, you are simply in the comforts of you own space. Insurance will often cover video sessions.
Email sessions are provided via CounSol. You simply email me, and within two business days, you will get a response from me. Since you are billed per email ($40 per email) that you send (max of 300 words per email), it is recommended that you spend time thinking about your emails prior to sending them. This can be a good fit if you have a specific problem you have been wrestling with and need time to thoughtfully consider and organize your thoughts and feelings.
Phone Sessions: This is similar to Video conferencing sessions without the visual aspect. This can be a good fit if you are in an area that does not have strong internet services. Sessions are the same length as face to face sessions (60 minutes) and are billed the same.
LIMITATIONS OF ONLINE/DISTANCE COUNSELING
Distance counseling should not be viewed as a substitute for face-to-face counseling or medication by a physician. It is an alternative form of counseling with certain limitations.
- may lack of visual and/or audio cues, which may cause misunderstanding – always assume that I have positive regard for you and check out your assumptions rather than keeping them to yourself.
- may have disruptions in the service and quality of the technology used. – it will be important for me to have a phone number where I can reach you in case there is a problem with our connection
- may not be appropriate if you are having a crisis, acute psychosis, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts – there will be an initial screening process (in person if possible), to assess fit for distance counseling
- Extra paperwork – including an Emergency Management Form that needs to be filled out prior to our first session to make sure I have access to local numbers to protect you in case of emergency
Back up Plan In Case Technology Fails:
The most reliable backup is a phone. Therefore, it is recommended that you always have a phone available and that I, your therapist, know your phone number.