"I sometimes offer the occasional Skype™ session…"
Is this you, or have you heard colleagues say this and wondered whether this is something you might do? Or perhaps you have questioned the process or felt uncomfortable with the idea?
Providing online synchronous therapy has become much more popular in recent times, as information technology has advanced. Many more of us are using Skype™, FaceTime™ and other apps in our private lives. Should we also consider offering these (or perhaps safer clinical equivalents) within our therapeutic interventions?
Therapists increasingly meet clients online in real time via webcam and instant message. Both approaches pose a variety of questions concerning suitability and efficacy. Working in real time in this way is often seen as most closely reflecting what happens when therapist and client meet in person in the therapist’s consulting room. However it is important also to contemplate the differences that may arise both for practitioners and clients when they are located at a distance, behind a screen. There is much evidence that clients seek the convenience of engaging with a therapist from home or work locations, and perhaps part of the therapist’s remit should be to ensure that their client has thought carefully about the pros and cons and that both parties enter this arena mindfully and with awareness.
Kate and Carole look forward to engaging in this exciting and contemporary debate.
About Kate Dunn
I am a psychotherapeutic counsellor, supervisor, and consultant/trainer currently working in private practice both online and face-to-face. Whilst working as a counsellor in a university setting, I established an online service and subsequently carried out research into the Online Therapeutic Relationship, supported by Seed Corn Funding from BACP. I have shared ideas resulting from this research in journal articles (including Therapy Today, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Journal, and TILT magazine) and in the book: "Psychotherapy 2.0: Where Psychotherapy and Technology Meet", Edited by P Weitz, Karnac Books 2014.
About Carole Francis-Smith
I am a counselling psychologist working in private practice. I currently provide therapy and supervision both face-to-face and online, run trainings for therapists considering working online (and other mental health/staff resilience areas), and business coaching for therapists setting up an online practice. My doctoral research was in the Online Therapeutic Relationship from which I also became fascinated by online communications in broader contexts, especially where these impact on the work of therapists and the experiences of clients. I'm an advocate of Compassionate Mind training/Compassion Focused therapy and have recently been taking a look at what can happen to compassion when communicating in online contexts. The Netiquette guidelines I produced are in the process of being adopted by the Compassionate Mind Foundation as good practice.
I have recently been taking a look at what can happen to compassion when communicating in online contexts and after a personal experience, produced a set of Netiquette guidelines which have been adopted by several organisations. I research and write articles which particularly focus on the therapeutic relationship in online spaces, and look to support fellow therapists by keeping up with current dilemmas.
Website: Dr Carole Francis-Smith - Counselling Psychologist
Facebook Page: Diamondleaf training