Online Therapy: Introduction (04:59)
Online has become an increasingly popular method of providing counseling services. Jacqui Atkinson founded ACTO, the Association for Counsellors and Therapists Online. Online therapy is more convenient for caregivers, clients with disabilities, and individuals with difficult schedules.
Working in Multiple Countries (04:56)
Counselors need to adapt to working in a different manner and must be technologically savvy. Issues a counselor needs to be aware of when providing online therapy include technology failure, online disinhibition, and immediacy.
Online counselors write boundaries into the contract with a client. Set online messenger status to busy or do not disturb when working with a client. Atkinson advocates creating three email addresses: one for personal use, one for business contacts, and an encrypted one for clientele.
Synchronous and Asynchronous Communications (06:13)
Synchronized communication is when the client and counselor communicate in real time. Email is asynchronous communication. Online therapists use email to schedule counseling services, contract issues, and address concerns and issues throughout a client's text.
Non-Verbal Cues (06:25)
Atkinson watches frequency, times of the day, and changes in typical writing behavior in emails to pick up non-verbal cues. Use bold, underlining, and capital letters to provide emphasis. Make sure to set an out of office message.
Texting and Instant messaging (05:13)
Texting can be a synchronous or an asynchronous form of communication. Atkinson explains that texting tends to be a shorter session and recommends it be used as an adjunct technology for therapy. Instant messaging is more flexible than texting but requires clients and therapists setting up a scheduled time to meet.
Audio-Visual Communication (04:33)
Programs that provide audio-visual communication include Skype, ooVoo, and Facetime. Atkinson cautions that the camera can see the backdrop of the office. This is the closest version of online therapy to in-person sessions; many clients prefer email communication at first.
Which Preferred Medium (06:58)
The client decides their preferred mediums of communication and includes it in the contract. Atkinson cautions that any devices used for therapeutic sessions are left out of the bedroom. In the future, appointments will be conducted in virtual environments with avatars.
Session Fees (01:29)
If paid by a company, it is similar to billing for in-person sessions. Private paying individuals must provide the money upfront either by wiring money to Atkinson's bank account or through PayPal.
Necessary Equipment (05:39)
Therapists wanting to provide services online need a computer, screen, keyboard, webcam, memory stick, a set of headphones, Skype, MSN, Oovoo, Microsoft word, and a printer. Atkinson and Simmons discuss using online counseling as a supplemental tool and privacy concerns.
Atkinson does not work one day a week, takes two vacations a year without her computer, and developed a personal first aid kit. The Behavior Systems Analysis Project (BSAP) provides guidelines for online counseling.
Credits: Online Therapy (00:33)
Credits: Online Therapy
Demonstration of Online Technology (06:40)
Simmons gives a demonstration of how to use Skype. Topics include hooking up a webcam, using the program, testing the image, and using the program on mobile phones and tablets.
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