COVID-19 and Counseling: Is Tele-Counseling Right For You?

Mark Shoemaker | Counseling I Christian Counseling Associates I Revive Counseling | Plano, TX I McKinney, TX | Grapevine, TX

Meet Mark

Given the recent threat of COVID-19, a lot of clients are worried about leaving their homes. This is 100 percent appropriate, and because of that, as therapists, we have been transitioning several clients over to tele-video counseling with concern for ourselves and our clients. We want to do our best in promoting social distancing, while continuing to offer quality counseling, to reduce the number of people being affected by the virus. While several clients are deciding to use tele-video counseling, some are on the fence. This is for you.

Before I started tele-counseling, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. Even as a clinician. After a big move, I was forced to make a decision between changing careers or giving tele-counseling a shot. It took awhile for me to make a decision because tele-counseling is relatively new and I wanted to make sure that if I committed to something that my clients would be able to benefit from it. If tele-counseling isn’t effective, and people aren’t able to connect, then count me out. Here is what I have learned so far about who is and is not a good fit for tele-counseling.

Anyone CAN be a good fit

What I have noticed is that, for the most part, there aren’t specific problems or issues that make someone a good or bad fit for seeing a therapist via tele-counseling. You can struggle with marriage issues, depression, anxiety, anger, etc. and make substantial progress through tele-counseling. If both you and your therapist are invested in the process, then you can make huge strides through tele-counseling just as you would meeting in person. So, the biggest component is COMMITMENT. This extends beyond tele-counseling to just counseling in general. I never ask clients to give more than can, just what they have to give. That is how you will get the most from counseling.

Environment Matters

A very important part of tele-counseling is to have a space for sessions where you are distraction-free. This means you need to have a space where the tv is not playing, family or friends are not within earshot, and there are no pets that might cause distraction (although this can depend on the person). This seems like a pretty big ask, but one of the most important components of success in therapy is the ability to focus and give everything that you have to the process. Remember the commitment thing? If you don’t think that you have a place where that is possible, it might be best to seek out a therapist to meet with in person.

Have a Good Connection

Another factor to consider before signing up for tele-counseling is to have a good internet connection. This could be through your phone or home wi-fi. Regardless, if you can facetime or video chat, you are probably good to go.

Need for Convenience

A lot of my clients have a high need for convenience. Throughout the day we get used to going from here to there for work, school, errands, etc. Sometimes it’s comforting to have the convenience to just log in from wherever you are to start your counseling session instead of making the drive to the office.

So to sum everything up, whether or not tele-counseling is a good fit for you, depends on your commitment to the process. If you are not committed, that is TOTALLY FINE. In the end, you getting the help you need, is most important. However, if you are going back and forth, and meet all of the practical requirements, give it a try. Don’t give more than what you can, just what you have.

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