As of March 2020 all of our team are available for online Counselling appointments. All you need is a private space in your home where you are comfortable to talk freely.
Reduced rates available for those quarantined at home or have lost their job due to Covid-19.
It was only earlier this month that my colleague, Paula and I were discussing online Counselling and how we could encourage some of our clients to try out this option. We could not have anticipated the timeliness of our conversation as online appointments have become a necessity.
The necessity for online Counselling is two fold. We must first ensure the safety of our community but also remain available during what is likely to be the most difficult mental health challenge of our lifetime.
Below is the conversation I had with Paula Reynolds, one our skilled therapists here at Limitless Wellness on Vancouver Island.
So, Paula, when you first heard about online Counselling, did you have any immediate thoughts about it? I know for me when I first began my practice 7 years ago, I was skeptical that the same kind of connection I have with my clients could be achieved through a computer screen.
Paula: “I thought it might be quite impersonal and, as a person who didn’t grow up with technology, it seemed like it might be too complicated. I also wondered about confidentiality, my internet connection failing mid-session, and how open clients would be to trying it out, at least once.”
What has your experience been of online Counselling since you started to make this available to your clients?
Paula: “I’ve found that all of my concerns were unfounded. In fact, my experience has been the exact opposite. The connection between myself and my clients has been as intact as though we were in the same room. Doing sessions online via Zoom has proven to be very easy and secure (Zoom is encrypted) and my clients have responded positively to this method of delivery. The other bonus is that I can work more extensive hours because of the convenience of online counselling, and I can now book clients with less waiting time, both in-between sessions and in-between the request and the session. My schedule is much more flexible overall. I actually helped a client on New Year’s eve with a last minute appointment. Online counselling opens up a whole new line of communication and Zoom makes it safe, easy, and convenient.”
How does this compare to your experience with helping clients in person?
Paula: “I find that online counselling feels much the same as sitting with someone in person. I’m always in a private space when I’m having an online session, and I encourage my clients to find their own private space so that they don’t feel the need to censor themselves. It’s important for them to be able to say anything they need to say. The one difference is that it’s easier for clients to multi-task and use other devices when we are in a session. I ask them to turn everything else off and concentrate on our interaction. We still need to focus on each other and the content of the session to the exclusion of all else, the same as if we were in the room together.”
Have your clients shared any feedback about their experience?
Paula: “What I have been told is that clients like the convenience and that online counselling works with their schedules. This is an age where many people often work more than 1 job, work more than 40 hours a week, and have many other commitments, such as family, school, and leisure activities. Online counselling means that they don’t have to use up their precious time in transit. And, it’s so ‘normal’ for people to be engaged online now that they sign on and interact without any second thoughts.”
Is there anyone in particular you think online Counselling works best for?
Paula: “I know that the more technology-savvy generation, who now seem to be almost in their 40’s and younger, have no problem adapting to online sessions. I would say that everyone has internet service and devices with cameras these days. The older generation, myself included, are also pretty savvy because we don’t want to be left behind. I guess I’m saying that online counselling works for everyone now. There’s really no barrier other than our attitudes toward it.”
What would you say to someone who is unsure about trying our online Counselling service?
Paula: “I’m more than happy to have a free, 20-minute consultation with any potential client who wants to test out online counselling and see if I’m a good fit for them. I always give good instructions on how to access the Zoom link that I send in an email. We’ll work through the process together. Patience is the key and I have lots of that!”