Australians, like many people in the world, travel more and relocate more often to reside in different locations, in Australia and overseas, more frequently now than ever before in history. This can be due to numerous factors, like relocating overseas or interstate for employment opportunities, family reasons or a myriad of other reasons that bring people to make the choice to relocate. The choice to relocate interstate or overseas can sometimes come very quickly with little time to arrange everything required making the move as easy as possible and this can create disruptions to the many facets of an individual’s day-to-day life.
Due to the fact that people relocate so frequently, this can also cause disruption in the therapeutic process. Sometimes these opportunities or choices to relocate interstate or overseas can interrupt important counselling and psychotherapeutic work and although they want to continue their therapeutic work, the distance and time away through the relocation makes it a seeming impossibility. Although is it possible to continue the therapeutic work with another therapist in their new state or country of residence, many people are reluctant to start the therapeutic process with a new therapist. This is where counselling or psychotherapy over the phone can be a helpful, complementary and sometimes necessary tool that can be used to not only continue the therapeutic work but also in some cases, start the therapeutic work.
In this short article, we will be looking at some of the questions and practicalities that the process of counselling and psychotherapy brings when it is done at a distance and how it can be extremely useful and helpful to many people who want to start or to continue the therapeutic process at a distance.
Can Counselling & Psychotherapy Start Over the Phone?
As has been discussed previously, individuals want to start the therapeutic process for many different reasons and for the majority of people; coming in person for the therapeutic sessions is a simple task. However, for others, coming in to the sessions can be very difficult for reasons I will speak about later in this article. Thankfully, this doesn’t preclude the possibility of beginning and continuing on the therapeutic process via the phone. As speech, the vocalization of thoughts, feelings and everything else that comes into our conscious awareness, is the medium that we use in the therapeutic endeavour, as long as the phone connection is clear, over the phone counselling and psychotherapy can be just as useful, helpful and life changing as it is conducting it in the clinical space.
Some Challenges to Counselling & Psychotherapy Over the Phone
There can obviously be some challenges to the therapeutic process over the phone as well. Some people don’t like speaking over the phone and feel the need to be able to see the person that they are speaking to directly. Conversely, the opposite can also be true, that some people don’t like to see the person they are talking too and the phone can be a convenient way to avoid this. Some of the same difficulties that appear in the clinical space also appear through the process over the phone as well, as the same difficulties of speaking about and working through some of the more painful parts of their symptom can disrupt the process in many different ways.
The impossibility of “reading” body language can sometimes be seen as an impediment to some people in the therapeutic process and some therapists too, placing undue importance to “reading” body language. It is well known that body language isn’t a universal code that shares the same meaning and expression for everyone, as body language isn’t independent of the cultural and linguistic background of the individual. As one bodily gesture can contain and express a very different meaning from one person to another, the so-called reading of that gesture is impossible to understand without asking about what that gesture may signify. So, much like the therapeutic process in the clinical space, the person still needs to speak about that in depth in order for that to be communicated effectively.
Other Reasons Why Counselling & Psychotherapy Over the Phone Can Be Helpful
Outside of the choice to relocate to another state or country, some people can find it difficult to attend regular therapeutic session for a number of factors. Some of these can be agoraphobia, social anxieties, being temporarily out of the state or country, illness, immobility or sometimes the time of travel can create problems to regularly attend sessions in person if the person lives quite a distance away.
However, as speech is the medium of counselling and psychotherapy, short and long term counselling and psychotherapy over the phone is a helpful and complementary option to continue important therapeutic work or to start the counselling and psychotherapeutic process. Although counselling or psychotherapy over the phone is not for everyone, in some cases it can be the only way for people to start this important and healing process.
I have and continue to work with people who have started the counselling & psychotherapeutic process over the phone and others who have moved overseas or interstate and have continued the therapeutic work at a distance. I am happy discuss this possibility with you if this is something that may be helpful for you and to answer any questions you may have about this.
Phone Counselling Melbourne
Paul Reid – Counselling & Psychotherapy
Email: [email protected]
for individuals and relationship & marriage counselling for couples in Melbourne.
I am a counsellor and psychoanalytic psychotherapist working with individuals and couples in private practice in Carlton, Melbourne.