BY: Anna Keyter
Online Counselling / Online Counsellor / Online Skype Counselling / Online therapist / Online Therapy / Skype Counselling
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Online Skype Counselling:
Not all medical healthcare schemes accept Online Skype Counselling. However, the American Medical Association allows reimbursements for Skype or online consultations. The American Psychological Association (APA) labels Online Skype Counselling Telepsychology. Skype counselling is no longer considered to be the future of psychological services; it has become part of daily mental health care. As a result, Skype counsellors living in the 21st century are evolving with the times and are starting to include online counselling as part of their practice. Technology is playing an essential role in interdisciplinary health care including mental health. As with face to face mental health practice, it is up to the individual professional to provide a satisfactory service by following the relevant professional code of conduct.
Online Skype Counselling Quality
But what constitutes good quality mental health care on the Skype platform? Skype or video counselling may be an excellent outlet for individuals who have agoraphobia, social phobia or shyness. Some may argue that Skype counselling could reinforce such behaviour. However, the most critical part of the counselling process is the therapeutic alliance which can be established during Skype counselling by a trained professional. Furthermore, Skype counselling provides a platform for those who would otherwise not have access to mental health services.
Goals of Online Skype Counselling
When considering the future of the Online Skype Counsellor, Lehoux, Battista and Lance (2000) suggest that the focus should not only be on technology but also sociopolitics. For this reason, they provided a framework for analysis using constructs such as actors (professionals, clients, families, manufacturers, third parties and administrators), the flow of resources (funding and reimbursement strategies), knowledge (who makes the rules?), and power (who controls it?). On the practical level, Lehoux, Battista and Lance (2000) recommend that online counselling meet four primary goals for the service to be useful:
- Reduction in transportation for client and providers
- Reaching underserved populations
- Understanding client and service provider
- Countering rural isolation
While many studies reveal that face to face counselling is still the prefered method of intervention, the clients of Online Therapy prefer Skype or Video counselling. As a result, the Online Therapy practice is contacted almost exclusively for Skype Counselling services. The main reasons stated for the preference is the convenience and affordability.
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