Navigating the levels of alert as a counsellor, is very much a case of considering the options, and the risks of counselling venue and space. At its heart, counselling is about relationship, its the pocess of building a safe relational space where your accepted unconditioinally and feel safe to work through the unsettledness, fear, grief, anxiety or untold stories without any sense of being judged. That can be acheived through a Zoom conversation. Its slightly different to being in the room, but its acheivable, and for some people the screen gives a level of separation that allows them to be even more open. Safety though is a separate issue, its having space for both sides to maintain confidentiality. From my end, my counselling room is still a confidential place, and adding in headphones for voice clarity only adds to that. Its important though if you are thinking about online counselling that you also have a safe, confidential place to call from, or that you are ok with the other people in your "bubble" being part of the call. It might be a room away from the family living quarters, calling from a car, or working from a phone outside. Its also important to have a backup plan, if a battery runs out or the connection gets dropped mid session, what options are their for picking up again, especially if its a sensitive spot in the conversation. The set apart room though, also contains the conversations, there is room to keep the content separate from daily life. So, where something takes more than one session, it can stay ourside of the normal routines until you have discovered your wisdom in dealing with it. Having a safe space to park experiance is valuable. I'm not convinced that online offers that containment.
Safety also includes having enough in place that:
if there are conversations about abuse,
if there is risk of self harm, or
if there is the potiential of others being at risk,
we have good options for dealing with this. It's harder to have those conversations in ways that end up with you working within your networks, to head to a friend's or reach out to others while we are in session.
If your wrestling with these issues during the lock down then If its urgent
or head to the nearest emergency room,
or use one of the online helplines to get 24 hour help..
Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.
Reflecting as a Counsellor, my preference is to wait until we reach level 2 and welcome you into a face to face session. Re-writing personal self talk, re-visioning futures, and restoration of values are projects. Journeys from a problem influenced way of being to a prefered way of being. While the crisis of the moment might highlight the need for the journey, there are benefits of face to face counselling that intergrates into and transforms our normal daily lives. Unfortunately, that means waiting until level 2, please be patient, please be kind to yourself, and I hope to see you then. And again, if its urgent please ring one of the help lines above.