‘Skype therapy’ is now firmly established as a safe, practical and effective way for therapists and counsellors to meet their clients.
Counselling traditionally brings the therapist and client together in the same place, but technology is changing this sacred process. It is now possible for us to ‘meet’ over the internet, wherever they are in the world, and without leaving home. This is re-shaping how therapy and opening up a whole new range of possibilities.
I remember the fuss when telephone counselling was first suggested and later adopted by some large organisations. Resistance mostly came from therapists themselves; many were horrified at the prospect.
A big step forward came when Samaritans reported that counselling over the phone was actually making it more likely that some people would get help because it was accessible, low-cost and had some significant advantages over face to face counselling.
Some people, it was reported, were far more likely to pick up the phone than they were to seek out and visit a therapist’s consulting room.
When they were asked why they had chosen this form of therapy these clients also said that the relative privacy made it possible. They could spend an hour on the phone in a quiet corner of their homes, without having to explain to the family why they needed to go our or where they were going.
It also made it easier to attend sessions after a hard day’s work, they said, without the inconvenience of travel, finding a parking space, or worrying about child care.
As the technology made it possible a natural next step was to progress to virtual meetings and Skype therapy was born. While some people still prefer face-to-face meetings, have found that online sessions can be just as effective as the traditional approach.
When the pandemic hit, virtual therapy sessions became the only way to do things and even as the rules have been relaxed, social-distancing is now the norm and Skype therapy is the usual format for many practitioners.
Skype therapy pros and cons
New developments always bring their critics and there are of course pros and cons with online counselling and therapy. Nevertheless, for practitioners who are comfortable and properly set up with a few of the right accessories (a good microphone, headphones, and, preferably, a separate webcam), it is a win-win situation for both therapist and client.
As I had been meeting my clients online via Skype for several years I was already comfortable. It’s not a method that suits everybody, but some actually prefer it. I used to travel widely in my training work and when people wished to follow up with some personal coaching or therapy, Skype makes it possible.
As the tech caught up Skype is no longer the only option. Many online coaches and therapists are now opting for Zoom, Google Meet also well established. Some people are more comfortable using apps like WhatsApp or Facetime, and I have spoken to clients using both.
Technology will never replace personal contact, for sure. What is certain is that people will increasingly use it to open up possibilities by connecting with people they otherwise wouldn’t meet.
More about my Skype sessions for coaching and therapy.