How an online counsellor works is very important, so when choosing a counsellor to work with, to entrust your deepest fears and secrets with, you will want to know a bit about the counsellor and how they work, how counselling works, and their chosen model(s) of practice, at least I did when I had counselling a few years ago.
Here is some background information which I hope will help you to understand what online counselling is all about and how I will use my skills and compassion to help you move forward.
When I got help from an empathic counsellor
I was deep in a crisis and depressed, though I didn’t know it at the time, I didn’t know where to turn, I struggled with life and my issue for a couple of years, they seemed like very long years.Eventually I found the courage to talk to a college counsellor (I was a mature student back then).
Confidentiality was very important to me and I really wanted to talk to another man, I felt he would understand my issues better, with hindsight that was a wrong assumption, but I have no complaints, he was a very experienced and empathic man whose reason for being a counsellor was that he wanted to help people (just like I do now), and he did help me a lot, having counselling was like a re-birth for me.
Ever since that time I have wanted to emulate how that counsellor worked and how he helped me, he was supportive and gave me the time to find my own answers, he sometimes laid the choices and options out before me and sometimes let me find them for myself, but all the while, I never felt alone, he walked with me every step of my journey and I saw the thrill he got when I was ready to start living my life the way I wanted to equipped with a greater understanding from our work together.
Today I work as an online counsellor, I get that same thrill when I have helped guide my clients through their troubles and they are ready to go it alone, there is no better feeling than to help someone on their way in life, equipped with the tools they need to be happy and fully functioning.
The Humanistic Approach in Counselling
Some of the most important attributes of a counsellor can’t be learned from a text book, they are within the counsellor as a person.Caring, compassionate with the ability to enter into the clients world, whilst staying in their own professional world, with all of their skills and experience at their disposal.
It would be no use at all having someone try to help you if they broke down and collapsed emotionally at your troubles, having said that, I have often shed a tear with clients, but that’s the part of counselling which can’t be learned.
Carl Rogers, the father and guru of Person Centred Counselling (a major part of the humanistic model of counselling) believes that the relationship between the client and the counsellor is key to the counselling process and to therapeutic change taking place. I agree and work on this principle, so I will work to build a trusting relaxed, equal relationship, where your troubles and issues can be solved together. Counselling is very much a journey of togetherness.
So what other skills does a counsellor need?
Confidentiality (Online Counselling offers that confidentiality, no notes are kept of the session)
Have the skills and understanding of how the human mind works
Be experienced and able to work with the wide variety of life challenges affecting people in today’s world
Be caring and compassionate.These are a must in my opinion, to be honest most counsellor’s have these gifts and skills, but we need more.
As a counsellor I need to enable clients to feel comfortable, to remove any barriers to them receiving the help they want and need.
This is the reason I created my online counselling website, actually this is the third version, technology moves really fast. I strive to create a website to give a lot of free and useful information, to make it easy for people to understand and to access online counselling.
I also wanted to lower the cost of counselling and make it more accessible to as many people as possible, this is a driving force in my work, including concessions for students and those on low incomes.
I was one of the first UK counsellors to offer online counselling, email and real time live chat using yahoo messenger, whatsapp and skype.
Over the years online therapy has become very popular, many people find the benefits of online counselling from their own home or work place removes many of the barriers, not least the affordability.
With fewer overheads, online counselling can be less than a half the cost of face to face counselling, it is also much easier to access, wherever you have an internet connection, a computer or even a smartphone, online counselling is available to you from anywhere.
So that’s the practical issues, but how does it actually work?
A counsellor integrates a personal set of attributes, a caring nature, empathy and a ‘real’ desire to help other people.With an understanding gained through training of human development and how the mind works, how experiences and feelings are linked to how we think and behave. All our feelings are derived from our thinking, if we can manage how we think, we can manage how we feel and behave.
Thought Management tools such as ‘Thought Filing’ and ‘Therapeutic Journal’ writing are very effective tools, as are relaxation techniques such as ‘Breathing Exercises’, ‘Guided Imagery’ and ‘Meditation’.
I will help you explore your perceptions of yourself and others behaviours and help you learn to see things as they really are using tried and tested life coaching and counselling techniques combined.
More than anything else though, a good counsellor needs to create a trusting therapeutic relationship with their clients, a close and trusted bond which will help you by helping you feel that you are in safe hands, that someone is there for you throughout your struggles and your therapeutic journey.
Some important counsellor attributes:
- Non judgmental
- Professionally qualified
- A broad level of knowledge in the life challenges we all face
I combine Humanistic counselling or Person Centred counselling as it is sometimes known, with a practical life coaching model to help clients out of crisis and reach their full potential faster, sometimes the Person Centred model alone can be a little slow, but the important focus on the counselling relationship and the bond created is vital to my work.
Also important is my belief that deep down we all have what we need to survive and fully function within us, we may just need someone to help us find these inner resources, so Person Centred counselling makes up an important part of how I work.
Life coaching became popular in the USA because people want to be at their best, it was initially a business tool to help people succeed, but nowadays life coaching helps people with all of life’s challenges and helps us change the things we want to do differently or better in our lives.The final part of my theoretical approach to counselling is ‘Existential’ theory, in particular the ‘Human Givens’ or our ‘Ultimate Human Concerns’. Existential psychology is based on theories of existentialism. Existentialism is centered on particular ‘Human Givens’ of our existence or how we as human beings live and think.
Existentialism has the following beliefs:
- That humans exist without any apparent cause or reason – This can result in us feeling lost or wondering what life is all about.
- That humans have freedom – With that freedom comes responsibility and a fear of it.
- That humans are isolated in our feelings – There are some things we feel are difficult to share with others.
- That death is inevitable – Death and Loss are very difficult issues to social beings.
- Meaninglessness, or what is life all about – We all wonder what life is about at times, don’t we.
Most life challenges can be traced back to one of these five ‘Human Gives’. Sometimes we can feel lost and wonder who we are, or what we are here for, the ‘meaning of life’ can be stressful to us at times.
Understanding how we humans tick and making sense of our lives is the best way to make our lives fit who we are, or who we want to be.
Whatever your problem is, whether its one big problem or a whole host of niggling smaller problems, I will help you. Having someone to really listen to your worries really helps.With 15 years post qualifying experience of actually working as a counsellor, (10 years online) using tried and tested counselling and life coaching strategies to help you find your way again, you will soon feel more in control of your life and have the tools you need.
I will help you to take control of your life, starting Today!
Paul Parkin – Online Counselling.