When we first went into lockdown in March, MindOut moved quickly to offer online and telephone sessions to our existing clients, so that they could complete their counselling. This soon led to us offering remote sessions to new clients.
Uptake was slow in the beginning, both clients and counsellors alike had concerns about the effectiveness of counselling through the screen or down a phoneline. Some of this may have been an understandable fear of the unknown. But there are valid reasons to prefer face-to-face human contact, especially in a time of turmoil. Counselling is based on the strength of the relationship between the client and their counsellor. How would this work remotely?
It turns out that online and telephone counselling were ‘a thing’ long before the coronavirus pandemic. Many counsellors are familiar with working this way – perhaps because our clients live far away, travel often for work, or have an illness or disability that stops them from meeting in person. With a little training, all our team were able to offer remote sessions.
As a service we’ve now been working remotely for 6 months, and have some results to back up the effectiveness of our online and telephone counselling. Clients have reported significant improvements in wellbeing, which are equivalent to the results we get from face-to-face sessions. We’ve also had feedback that Zoom works well for therapy, often better than people expected!
Whilst we’re keen to offer face-to-face sessions again as soon as we can, for those who want and need them, we’ve also seen that remote counselling is effective and we hope to continue offering it after the pandemic for clients who can’t or don’t want to visit in person.
If you’d like to apply for remote counselling sessions with MindOut, please see www.mindout.org.uk/counselling for details and the application form.