A lot of people are interested in E-Therapy, with good reason! I happen to think it’s easy, accessible, affordable, and fits today’s way of life as well or better than traditional therapy. Of course, as an E-Therapist, I admit my bias. Unfortunately, right now there’s not a lot of good information to help people find out more about what E-Therapy can offer.
That’s why I decided to create a four-part series explaining a little bit more about what E-Therapy is. Part Two describes Phone Therapy.
What is phone therapy? The easiest way to explain it might be saying that it’s when the counselor and the client are talking on the phone. But that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. After all, counselors and clients might talk on the phone all the time for all kinds of reasons. They may need to confirm an appointment, to ask a question, or to update information. These are common uses of the phone, but not phone therapy by any stretch of the imagination.
A true phone therapy session occurs when a client and a counselor meet on the phone specifically for the purpose of having therapy. This could be because the client could not make their session time at the last minute, perhaps due to a cancelled babysitter, car failure, or inclement weather. Or it might be because the client does not live near a qualified therapist, or the client doesn’t have time to make it to therapy and back on their lunch break.
Some people may simply prefer talking on the phone to talking in person! They may find it more convenient or more comfortable. The most unique benefit of phone therapy is portability. You can call from anywhere you get reception. Many people, especially teenagers, are just “phone” people! They’re more at ease using the phone to converse than they are talking to someone in person.
Phone therapy also may be a preferable form of therapy for people who have a challenge that makes it difficult to talk in person, such as social anxiety. Talking about sensitive subjects can be easier sometimes if you’re not looking a person in the eye. That’s not to say that it’s not an important goal to attempt to overcome those fears, but you can’t begin benefit from therapy until you’re in therapy. A medium like phone, chat or email therapy might be what helps people start therapy in the first place!
Historically, phone therapy has had an incredibly positive impact on many people’s lives. What I’m referring to, of course, is the most well-known form of phone therapy: crisis hotlines. While not all phone counselors at crisis hotlines are actual licensed counselors, they have been trained to help people through dire situations. Often just hearing the voice on the other end of the line can help a person overcome whatever situation they may be struggling with.
Of course, with the onset of cell phones, there is a potential downside to phone counseling. Calls get dropped, and occasionally you hear stories about people getting their signals crossed and overhearing other people’s phone conversations. I don’t know how much this actually happens, but it is worth mentioning to you, just in case. The other potential danger in phone counseling is fallout from the lack of visual cues. This can lead to misunderstandings if you’re not careful. Some feel it makes phone therapy less personal than face-to-face conversation.
However, if a person is open to the idea of counseling in general, then it is easy to work through the different aspects of phone therapy. Ethical E-Therapists will advise clients of what to do if the call is dropped, and make them aware that there’s a possibility for miscommunication. If you, as the client, know that’s the case, you’ll be less likely to be inadvertently offended.
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