E-Counseling and Into the Future

 

Imagine Counseling 20 Years From Now

 

It's another day. Jeanie wakes up, and like she always does, she begins her routine- showers, brushes her hair, puts on a pot of coffee, and logs onto her terminal. Her work day has begun. But today is a bit different because she has an appointment with her counselor at noon, and will take the rest of the day off. She has been feeling very depressed lately, with little desire to do anything.

 

When noon arrives, her counselor arrives, but not in person. She can still see him, a projection in her living room. She sits down on her couch and they begin their session.

"Hello Jeanie, how are you today," he says.

 

During the session it becomes obvious to the counselor that Jeanie has not really left her home in two weeks for more than a few minutes. He asks her if she would be willing to go to the park, and they will continue the session.

 

Jeanie leaves her home, and goes to a local park. She finds a quiet bench looking out across the water. It is peaceful here, and the cool breeze feels refreshing. Her mini HUD display still shows her counselor, and she puts in her earpiece.

 

"How do you feel right now?" he asks. They can still see each other, face to face.

 

"Better," she says, "but still lonely".

 

They continue a number of sessions, there in the park over the next several weeks until the day comes when Jeanie finally has the strength to confront her father and her sister, the root of her depression. Living on opposite sides of the country, they come together for a group counselling session. Jeanie, feeling comfortable now in her favorite spot- that same park bench, finally speaks with her father after ten years of silence. The counselor, ever present, moderates and facilitates the discussion at all times, able to interrupt if necessary, and even silence another party if absolutely required. After the first session, much was accomplished, things were said that needed to be said for years. There is a long way still to go, but it was a good start. The counselor wishes the three of them a good week, promises to see them again, and he logs off his terminal. He walks out of his counseling room, and there to greet him is his wife. His children are ready upstairs to play their favorite game with dad.

 

Counseling in the Future

Could this be the future of counseling? Image it 20 years from now. What will it look like?

Our vision is that the face of counselling over the next generation will undergo some significant adjustments as the inter-connected world booms forward. Professionals have an opportunity to lay claim to this new modality of treatment, lest it fall into the laymen's hands and become discredited. Let us explain.

 

What is E-Counseling

E-counseling is a new and beneficial method of helping individuals work through life’s challenges and issues without being in the same physical proximity of their therapist. Many people are unable to attend regular weekly in-session appointments with a counselor. E-Counseling includes a variety of methods including phone conversations, e-mail updates, instant messenger discussions, and webcam sessionns. The use of e-counseling, on its own, or in combination with traditional face-to-face counseling sessions, provides clients the opportunity to continue progressing towards their goals without the interruption of coordinating a difficult and complicated schedule

 

Hypnosis and Fast Food Counseling

As an example, over the last century, Hypnotherapy has suffered as a recognized and valid form of treatment due to its immense negative portrayal and mockery by entertainers, Hollywood, media, etc. To this day, professional hypnotherapists struggle greatly to validate their field and have great difficulty dispelling and overcoming those who have ruined its professional credibility. This same uphill battle was fought by chiropractors for decades. Only recently has chiropractic care been "legitimized" in the medical community. In regards to hypnotherapy, the professional field still struggles for credibility because it is still infiltrated by entertainers, laymen, and untrained people who call themselves "professionals." So what does all this have to do with e-counselling? A great deal.

E-Counseling is an amazing new direction for counselors. The field of professional counselors can either claim this new field for themselves, or allow it to be taken over by untrained individuals trying to make a fast dollar. If we as counselors allow the field of e-counseling to be hijacked by unqualified people, like the chiropractors and hypnotherapists, we may also spend decades in the future trying to recover its credibility. The demand for e-counseling will rise over time. We can either claim it for ourselves, so that it is a credible and viable mechanism for treatment, or we can let that demand be met by the laymen. If we do the latter, we will suffer in the future, because by then, it will have been infiltrated by the untrained. We do not want the field of E-Counseling to become the field of fast-food counseling.

 

Resisting Change Will Leave Us Behind

We've seen it time and time again, throughout history. Those who resist change pay a dear price later on. Remember the polaroid? A multi-billion dollar company, filed for bankruptcy in 2001 for one reason and one reason only: they resisted the change to digital photography. They liked "the old way" and decided to keep things the same. But the world decided otherwise. The face of photography was changing, and either you adapt to the change or get left behind. Kodak barely survived, and had they resisted even a little longer, they too may have gone under. There are literally hundreds of examples across all industries of major companies shutting down because they refused to adapt to change. The more we hold on to "the old way is the only way" the more obvious it becomes that we have an unhealthy fear of change. And counselors, of all people, should be able to understand that concept.

 

Untapped Market

E-Counseling is currently an untapped market. There are very few, if any, centralized sources of E-Counselors on the internet. By providing a unified directory of professional E-Counselors, Theravive seeks to break new ground in the field of counseling. We invite you to become a part of this growing field, and by doing so, you help to legitimize it as a valid mechanism of treatment.

 

The E-Counseling Debate: Is it Valid?

We understand there is currently debate among professionals as to the validity and effectiveness of E-Counseling as a clinical mode of treating clients. In a sense, E-Counseling is still in an “experimental form”, yet, time and time again in our world, we see industries that resisted the technology of the internet be forced to make changes or else be left behind. For example, the music industry for several years fought against having music available digitally over the web. So while record companies stubbornly resisted the push of the internet, they rapidly found themselves in the position of making forced changes or going out of business. Our world is changing and we need to be prepared to change with it. How will counseling look 10 years from now, 20 years from now? Today’s generation is a digital one, and in a true sense, communication for some today is as real over an I-Phone as it would be in person. If the very concept of communication changes as a result of the inevitable push of the information age, the world of counselors should be prepared to make adjustments as well. Many of us can still remember a time when we did not have e-mail, fax machines, or even computers. The availability of new means of communication inevitably brings change to how professionals and businesses operate. While we don’t believe traditional counseling will ever be replaced, we do recognize that with this changing world, the demand for counselors who can treat “remotely” will only increase. So, even though it is currently in debate, we believe it is only a matter of time before the professional counseling and psychology fields will formally recognize E-Counseling as a viable treatment mechanism.

 

 

If you have any questions, please e-mail listing@theravive.com or call us at 604-626-1329 (Canada), or 360-350-8627 (United States)

 

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Licensed and professional counselors and therapists are able to provide help to clients anywhere in the world. See our e-counseling page to learn more. Clients may call, with no obligation, free of charge, any e-counsellor to introduce themselves and to determine the best fit for their unique situation. Subsequent charges and fees are negotiated between the counselor and client.