Counselling and Technology: What is E-Therapy and Could It Benefit Me? 2 years ago

Girl using mobile and Laptop

E-Therapy, also known as Tele-health or Online Counselling refer to the method in which counselling is delivered to a client. In other words, E-Therapy is when a counsellor and client utilize technology via (phone, video chat, email, or text messaging) to participate in counselling sessions.

Here are some brief commonly asked questions that I often receive:

Is one technology more effective than the other for maximizing the benefits of counselling?

In short, it all depends on what is the most comfortable and efficient format for the client to participate in counselling sessions. I have had email and text sessions with clients who identified working with additional counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, or doctors, in a face-to-face manner while they were seeking counselling from me, and described that they felt they could only truly express themselves fully through email or text due to the discomfort, shame, and/or inability to connect with their practitioner face-to-face on a regular basis. Some people may feel a need to see someone’s face in order to feel more connected and better simulate a face-to-face session. Other people may only need to hear the therapist’s voice or read their messages/emails.

The good news is that with the technology we have today, more mental health practitioners are beginning to offer more technology platforms in order to connect with their clients and truly tailor the technology with what the client finds most comfortable for session participation.

 Is my information safe online?

            This is a great question. With anything that occurs online, there is always some form of risk involved (i.e. an SMS text message being delivered to the wrong person). At Wild Lotus Counselling, every measure has been taken to attempt the utmost safety and security of all client information in order to provide clients with complete client confidentiality. All the platforms that have been chosen to provide counselling to clients have been researched and thoroughly examined to ensure that client confidentiality is provided for all clients. Any and all information provided during an intake is securely stored and can only be accessed by Wild Lotus Counselling.

With this being said, it is up to clients to safely maintain any passcodes/passwords that may be needed to access sessions via certain platforms (i.e. text messaging using Signal private messenger app or emails using Hushmail email service).

I would also be happy to further discuss and specifically explain any platforms used at Wild Lotus Counselling.

Do I need to have the latest technology in order to partake in counselling?         

This depends on what platform you are wanting to use for counselling- if you are wanting to opt for phone counselling, you only need access to a secure phone line.

If you are wanting to video chat, you will need a working computer with video capabilities that can connect to the internet.

If you are leaning more toward email therapy, you will need to have an email address and a computer that can can connect to the internet.

Finally, if texting is what may appeal the most to you, you will need to have access to a cell phone that can connect to data or wifi.  

With all of these technologies, some knowledge of how each technology works is best. However, I am happy to help clients choose a platform most suitable to their capabilities, and also help with set-up and some troubleshooting.

What advice would you give to someone who is curious about trying E-Therapy?

I would break the information down into 3 of the following pieces:   

                                                        1) Do your research on the counsellor and their counselling specialties they offer- if the counsellor doesn’t specialize in what you are seeking help for, then technology and platforms won’t really matter. Also, make sure the counsellor has credentials- clients should look for counsellors that have  a Master’s Degree in something related to counselling (Counselling Psychology, Psychology, Education, etc.) and should be licensed (look for ‘RCC’ (Registered Clinical Counsellor) or ‘CCC’ (Canadian Certified Counsellor).

                                                        2) Be okay with using the technology you currently have- you don’t need to go out and buy a fancy laptop in order to attend therapy. Many counsellors today offer various platforms for connecting with clients in order to provide sessions that will be the best suited to their needs and capabilities. Also, be sure to ask the therapist how secure and what security measures the therapist takes to make sure their platforms can provide you with the utmost client confidentiality and security, both, during a session and regarding your personal information.

                                                        3) When in doubt, reach out- therapists are happy to take the time to discuss their background, services, and options for counselling. Quite a few counsellors, like Wild Lotus Counselling, offer free consultations or meet and greet sessions to see if you and the counsellor are a good ‘fit’ for each other.

 

I hope this blog post was somewhat helpful to answer some of your questions regarding Tele-health or perhaps fueled further burning questions that you would like answered.  If so, please feel free to contact me via email: Amanda@wildlotuscounselling.ca or phone: 250-294-7798.

 

Have a happy and healthy week!

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