Written by: Irada Ruslanova
clinical psychologist, consulting psychologist, therapy groups host.
Communicating online has made geographical borders nominal if not erased them altogether. We attend advanced training courses, regularly see our friends from all corners of the world, take part in live broadcasts of lectures and seminars, and expand our own perception thanks to the effect of real presence.
Counseling via Skype is a practice that despite doubts and debates around it gains more and more popularity with every passing year. An online session hardly falls behind any face-to-face conversation in terms of its effectiveness. During such video conferences psychologist can also observe client’s posture, facial expression and body language. The client is also surrounded by friendly environment, not to mention that no time is spent getting to and from the specialist’s office. Taking into consideration the fact of self-isolation that we all have to follow, this way could be the only solution for those who are in need of professional help.
Advantages of working online are doubtless. However we can not ignore it’s negative sides. The most evident one is bad internet connection, problems online and flaws in hardware work. Low picture quality can make it difficult for a specialist to read the client’s emotional state. The session can also be terminated simply because of failed connection.
Majority of complaints towards online practices are directly connected to the quality of connection which left much to be desired even a few years ago. Of course no one is safe from various technical issues but with good internet connection and technical capabilities (laptops, smartphones, tabs, stationary computers) they happen not more often than simple power cut in a consultant’s office or repair works in an adjacent room.
Online doesn’t suit those who are going through a body therapy, it can be unacceptable while doing some of the exercises as well as have an overall negative effect. If we talk about working with children, not all playing techniques can be applied virtually.
The main factor determining whether the therapy will or will not work is an emotional contact based on trust between you and your therapist. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting in the same room or having a conversation online.
For some clients it is imperative to have a live conversation. In that case it is necessary to find a therapist living close which is a limiting factor but at the same time it guarantees face-to-face talk.
Sometimes a client needs to change environment, his/her surroundings, in other words: to get to the therapist’s office. On the way there it is good to think over the questions and on the way back – new information. This is also possible to do if enough time is dedicated before and after the online session.
We also can’t ignore unforeseen and/or emergency circumstances that could occur during the conversation in which specialist is limited in his actions.
Experience of specialists of our center shows that in terms of effectiveness both formats are equal. There are cases when clients changed to online meetings due to inability to come to office or lack of time while being in need of psychological help.
Having doubts about online therapy? The main factor determining the effectiveness of work is emotional contact between psychologist and client based on trust. It is not important whether you are in the same room or in a virtual space.
So, the choice is all yours! However, in conclusion it will be good to mention again that in conditions of isolation and pandemic online counseling is the only way. A lot of people have to experience stress caused by everyday problems, let alone the risk of getting a virus which is scary on its own. Panic that is spread across the social media is negatively reflected in our behavior, actions and reactions.
The fact that you show interest towards Skype counseling tells that even though you stay at home you are not wasting your time. You resist this colossal pressure on your mental and emotional state that comes from the outside world. Working with a qualified specialist you will be less exposed to stress and be more efficient in overcoming difficulties which in turn will positively reflect on your physical state.
Remember: soon the problems will be left behind and all we have to do is not to fall into panic, keep composure and positive attitude.