Couple on computer online counseling

How Does Online Counseling Work?

Prior to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, our counselors met virtually with roughly twenty percent of our clients. While our doors were closed during the worst of the pandemic, we obviously met with every client online. Notwithstanding, the number of clients we met with each week steeply declined.

As things in America began to open up, our client numbers began to return to pre-pandemic numbers. To our pleasant surprise, the number of clients we met with virtually via Zoom or FaceTime never fell below fourty-percent of our overall client register. Online counseling had become nearly as much a part of our lifeblood as were in-person sessions.

You may have never participated in an online counseling session. For the most part, it’s not significantly different than meeting face-to-face. However, there are a few elements that make it unique.

A Strong Internet Signal Is Needed

From time to time, I’ve had client sessions drop in the middle of the conversation. This issus isn’t limited to just FaceTime or Zoom Meetings. And I don’t know enough about communications technology to know why one will work fine when the other won’t. Regardless, it will be valuable to have both platforms available for your online counseling sessions, just in case signal strength becomes an issue.

Zoom Meetings Is Better For Multi-Site Sessions

Many times I’ve met with a husband and wife who are in two different physical locations. Zoom Meetings works great for being able to see two or more clients simultaneously in the same screen. There is a Gallery View that places the screen of each participant in checkerboard format on the computer screen. With Speaker View, the screen of the speaker fills the entire screen of the other participant(s). In either case, the ability for each participant and the counselor to be seen is far superior to the capabilities of FaceTime to allow multi-site sessions.

Only Apple MacBook / iPhone Users Have Access to FaceTime

FaceTime is an app that is only available on Apple MacBook and iPhone. I’ve found it to be very high quality when there is sufficient signal for the session, and every participant and counselor is able to be seen on the screen.

Images Are Shared Through ScreenShare on Zoom

One of the elements of Christian counseling I find very beneficial is to be able to write notes on a white board and to hand the client(s) illustrations or documents to reinforce the topic. With online counseling, this is not possible. I’ve gotten pretty good at sharing my computer screen with the participants. But I find that my ability to engage them is not nearly as effective as when meeting with them in person.

Payment Of Session Fees Is Done Online Prior To The Session

The vast majority of my clients pay in person during their time in my office, either with cash, check, or credit card. When meeting with a client online, the only means of receiving payment for their fees is via online payment. What I most often do is send them a QuickBooks invoice prior to the session, and require that it be paid in full by the time our session begins.

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Contact us to schedule an appointment or to learn more about Online Therapy at Life Training.

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