During the COVID-19 lockdown, our wellbeing landscape was challenged like never before. No social interaction outside your home, but the Internet opened a portal to a new form of normality. Via the Internet, it is possible to reach people over great distances. We can facilitate training and communicate with people who need help from all over the world.
In our office, the conversation changed from the risks and pitfalls of working online, to what are the possibilities. Instead of thinking about traditional forms of counselling and training as opposed to working online, we developed combinations of best practices.
My first venture into online counselling was an asynchronous e-mail based process. This was slow and not very effective in dealing with the crisis element of trauma counselling. The delay between emails created expectation and communication gaps.
In-person and online services are combined to maximize benefits and minimise risk. The synchronous such as chat and video conferencing are popular with clients because they have more options. By combining the possible means of doing counselling, supervision or coaching clients find it easier to manage their schedules and fit in appointments.
Some clients prefer face-2-face services because their appointments are part of their “me-time” and they need the closeness of therapeutic interaction. Other clients have difficulties to leave their home due to certain illness, working from home, physical limitations, transportation difficulties or family commitments. Although online counselling it is only available to clients who have access to a computer and the Internet, the client has more therapeutic options than before.
The process of sharing feelings, pain and failure is always very personal. In venturing to offer in-person and online counselling, I am taking ethical considerations, risks and exceptional quality of client care to heart. Policies and procedure are on Aquilla Wellness Solutions’ website and I take the same care to get informed consent from in-person and online clients. This means I don’t offer advice via social media and all clients have to sign an information and consent form.
Various services have different information and consent forms. All the forms are in English. Since I am bi-lingual the actual interaction can be in English or Afrikaans.
To benefit most from our interaction, I give clients homework. Sometimes talking isn’t enough to express what you are thinking and feeling.
A journal is an ideal tool – read more.