Friday, December 6, 2013

Self-care for Online Therapists and Internet Coaches: Win-Win for Counsellors and Clients

Psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and counsellors are heavy users of mental health services, often themselves suffering from anxiety or other conditions like depression. Self-care is particularly important in our profession, to avoid burnout, compassion fatigue and the unintended consequences of working with troubling situations. What can working online as a counsellor, therapist or coach contribute towards maintaining good mental health?

We’ve all heard of vicarious trauma (VT), the consequences of therapists not taking enough care of themselves while working with traumatised people. It’s a combination of exhaustion and absence of support or coping strategies and perhaps one’s own history of trauma interacting with our clients traumatic stories, the work setting and the specific nature of therapy or counselling work. No one wants to succumb to VT, which is why it is crucial that healthcare practitioners take precautions.

Although working online with clients is no protection in itself against vicarious trauma, it can offer an alternative way of practising to ease the burden of work related hours and add variety to lighten the pressures of everyday practice. Many private counsellors, coaches and therapists on Therapy Market do both in-person (‘face to face’ counselling) as well as online therapy and find this a more satisfying mix than just seeing client after client in a consulting room. Other health professionals blend in other activities such as writing or teaching, running workshops or training, offering supervision or even public speaking so as to ensure their workload is not all client contact hours.

The advantages of replacing some face to face client hours with online hours include less travel time and even more time at home. For many therapists and coaches, getting to work is an effort in itself and a loss of valuable private time. There is also the advantage of working when it suits you. Many clients prefer not having to travel to appointments and the opportunity to attend online coaching or therapy can make their lives easier and less stressful as well. The benefits of internet based therapy practice include more time for personal relationships and happier clients, particularly those who appreciate a choice of online sessions and face to face consultations.

There’s no doubt that online counselling or coaching can make more time for yourself and contribute to the sense of professional boundaries that you have with your clients, if that is what you are seeking. Taking on some online therapy clients can be a proactive way to reduce the stress associated with getting to work or the worry about having enough clients through your clinic room door. Supervision is still important of course, but offering your services online can be a positive way to job satisfaction and effectiveness.

If you think working online could make a difference to your self-care as a coach or therapist, register now at . For a low annual fee you can be part of Britain's best directory of online counsellors, coaches and therapists.

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