Corona Kicks Therapy into the Twenty-first Century.
It may be a bit early yet but in time we might actually look back at the corona-virus pandemic and see that it produced some useful and meaningful changes in how we live our lives.
One major benefit of the pandemic that we have seen already is the way that technology was embraced and used to help fill the gap in all our lives once we could no longer leave our homes and go do the normal things. Working from home, exercising along to youtube classes, family video-calls and much more became the order of the day and most were glad to be able to use them.
All through history great leaps in technology and how we use it have been propelled by crises. Online counselling, along with online G.P. consultation, Zoom Alcoholics Anonymous meetings etc. was embraced and used to the maximum and any doubts that previously existed about doing these things online were swiftly swept aside. Necessity is the mother of invention as they say.
I remember approaching the Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2009 looking for their stamp of approval for my new business venture. I was a a fully paid up member of their organisation and had just completed an online course in ‘online counselling’ which had just started to take off in the U.S.A. I knew that there was virtually (excuse the pun) nobody doing this in Ireland or at least nobody doing it professionally. I had a website and was all set to go. My insurance company informed me that they’d have no problem covering me but asked that I get the imprimatur of my association.
So, off I went excitedly to the I.A.C.P. only to be met with a reaction more akin to what I’d expect if I’d told them I planned to do counselling using two tin cans and a string. They huffed and puffed and couldn’t bring themselves to approve - indeed some even downright declared that it was impossible to do effective therapy online. I’m happy to say that after some persistence and further persuasion on my part and online counselling was recognised as a valid and useful way to do therapy.
I have been providing counselling and therapy online for years now. I use Skype, Zoom or Wattsap video. More and more people are entirely comfortable with the idea and it is fair to say that it’s no longer considered ‘different’ or a ‘novelty’. I talk to clients in their homes - their bedroom, their kitchen and even their cars. I tell them that they need to be mindful of their privacy and check that they feel comfortable talking to me from where they are. If I have any concerns I address these with the clients. Once, all this is established, away we go.
I also do my own personal supervision online along with my Continuous Professional Development hours. Neither myself or the client are restricted by location - I can work with someone in any part of the country or in another country entirely. There are other benefits - less expense for both therapist and client - no need to pay for expensive office rent or transport/parking costs.
Online therapy is here to stay and is no longer the poor relation of the industry and for that we should be grateful.