Does telephone counseling actually work? In a word – Yes. It works very well. You can do a bing/google/yahoo/other (don’t want to offend anyone) search and find the pros and cons of this kind of intervention so I won’t bore you with the links. Let me tell you why *I* think it works well.
1. Convenience. For those who live too far away, don’t drive, can’t drive, don’t have the time or want to take the time, this is perfect. Make an appointment, sit down in your own home someplace comfy and chat. Simple as that. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, whether or not the car is operational (or if you even have a car), if you don’t like to drive in the dark, or whether or not you did your hair. Plus, there is no additional cost for gas or parking or babysitting.
2. Privacy. Clients often tell me that the hardest part of coming in for an appointment is walking through the door. You never know who will be on the other side. I have some well-known clients in our area or at my place of employment who simply do not wish to be seen.
3. Availability. In my area, grief support is hard to find. I’m guessing that’s the same for your area as well. Telephone counseling is not limited geographically. Anyone from literally anywhere in the world can access exactly the type of counseling they seek without the travel expense.
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t address the cons of telephone contact.
1. Some people like the human interaction, the eye contact, the presence of someone else.
2. Body language is obviously missing. I can tell a lot by the way someone is sitting, how they look, the brightness or dullness in their eyes. It takes practice and a particular skill set to be able to *hear* between the lines. This is why honesty and openness from the client is so important. No counselor can help if the client isn’t being completely honest.
I’ve been doing telephone counseling at my place of employment for years and I can tell you without hesitation that it works…and works well.
Lisa B. Wolfe Copyright 2014