The benefits of counselling via email and instant messaging
Email counselling and instant messaging is still relatively new but it’s convenience, efficacy and popularity is continuing to grow. Email counselling provides anonymity and time for reflection.
It can provide a greater level of disclosure, instant access, privacy and safety. It is a cathartic experience and allows greater externalizing of emotions.
It can be said that email counselling encourages the art of communication. Both the counsellor and the client can use paraphrasing. This ensures clarification and understanding of what has been said.
Research shows that strong therapeutic alliances are developed through email counselling due to the counsellor having more time to respond with more care and time taken with the thought process.
If you decide to seek counselling through email or instant messaging you will find how relaxing it can be to transfer the thoughts from your head to paper. This is how therapeutic journaling happens. It’s a cathartic experience, which is what I recommend for many people. You are able to externalize problems; allowing the brain to make space and to look at the problems from a different perspective. The little voice inside goes away because you are too busy typing everything down.
Email counselling or instant messaging is such a positive avenue for counselling. There are less time constraints and more time to read and reflect.
A study done by the University of Zurich found that 57% of patients who were treated for depression using online therapy were free of depression compared to the 42% who had face-to-face therapy.
Sometimes you may not need counselling. I remember one person who contacted me via instant messaging. They were about to go on holidays, so I wanted to provide some ideas to hold them over. They responded with saying they never thought of the problem from that angle before. It was only a few lines. I was able to do this almost immediately.
The written word can be very powerful.
If a client has the responses from the counsellor on paper, they can keep going back to the conversation without fear of forgetting what was said. When you see the counsellor in person you may forget some of the things that were discussed.
Even though there is an absence of verbal and visual cues, text based communication using emoticons usually works wonders for letting the other person know how they are feeling immediately. There are no guessing games. Research has indicated that many clients do enjoy the email style of counselling and in many cases the clients find it easier to provide greater self-disclosure.
Emails can be short lived or they can go over a period of weeks which is seen by the client as an extended session. Clients also find instant messaging effective for counselling as they can still retain their anonymity and receive instant feedback.
As the population continues to become more text and internet savvy, the modality of email, texting and instant messaging for counselling will continue to grow in popularity. It’s convenient and provides instant connection with a counsellor. It’s about ease of use, anytime, anywhere, any place.
How do my email sessions work?
You go to my https://plusguidance.com/pamelavandersandecounselling and then you can either contact me vial instant messaging and receive a FREE 15-minute consultation or go straight into booking an email session.
You can send as many emails as you like. Then I will respond with one long email back to you.
The great thing about email counselling is that you don’t have to wait for an appointment. I will always endeavour to contact you straight away unless I am with another client. I believe in acknowledging as soon as possible. Each person is just as important as the next.
I know, if I had a problem I would want to speak with someone as soon as possible. With email counselling and instant messaging, there are no long waiting periods. It’s access to counselling at your fingertips.
Email and instant messaging is the way of the future. It provides access to those who are:
- Socially isolated
- Unable to access transport
- Located on the other side of the globe and need someone to talk to immediately
- Unable to find someone to mind the children
- A personal carer and unable to attend face-to-face counselling throughout the day
- Preferring to remain anonymous
- Preferring the comfort of their own home
- Unable to find the time to attend face-to-face counselling
- Wanting the convenience of when they chat with a counsellor
- Interested in using this experience to externalise their feelings
- Looking for affordability
- Looking for a counsellor to be available anytime of day
What to look for when doing internet counselling
It is important to know the credentials of the therapist. If they are a member of an association then you know they have a code of ethics, rules and regulations they must abide by. You will also have a complaints process. In addition you can be assured that your therapist will have ongoing professional development and will of course be qualified and trained in their field.
Never use a regular email such as gmail, hotmail etc with the therapist. That’s why I use PlusGuidance. It is run by professionals and all messaging is encrypted.
I am an accredited Social Worker and counsellor, and a member of the AASW.
My passion is about helping people change their lives.
If you need help, you can Contact Me Now via my website or through PlusGuidance.
Pamela Vandersande, BSW, Dip. Couns. AASW: 456171
Fingrut, W., Stewart, L., & Cheung, K. W. (2016). Choice of smoking cessation counselling via phone, text, or email in emergency department patients. Preventive Medicine Reports, 4, 597–600.
Rawson, S., & Maidment, J. (2011). Email counselling with young people in australia: A research report. Women in Welfare Education, (10), 14-28. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.slq.qld.gov.au/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.slq.qld.gov.au/docview/1037691756?accountid=13378
Salleh, A., Hamzah, R., Nordin, N., Ghavifekr, S., & Joorabchi, T. N. (2015). Online counseling using email: A qualitative study. Asia Pacific Education Review, 16(4), 549-563. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12564-015-9393-6