Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Expanding choices for how you express yourself.
What is text counselling?
Text counselling is expressing yourself through electronic text communication; this might look like a back-and-forth chat or it could look like a typed letter like email. The person on the other end of your message or "letter" is your chosen Clinician. Your Clinician can match your mode of expression while providing therapeutic relief.
Is text counselling effective?
No matter the mode of communication, what's vital is the effectiveness of the communication and the therapeutic relationship. Both of which can be accomplished through text communication.
Not every individual nor situation is appropriate for text or distance counselling. This is why it's important to speak to your Clinician first about why you're seeking therapy so they can evaluate your needs and make an informed decision if counselling is appropriate - something every Clinician should do.
No matter the mode of communication, what's vital is the effectiveness of the communication and the therapeutic relationship.
What are some benefits of text communication?
Accessibility. Ease of access for: those living in remote or isolating areas (with access to internet), individuals who have hearing or speech impairments, those struggling with limited mobility or those who have trouble leaving their place of residence.
Convenience. Depending on how your Clinician goes about text counselling, it's convenient in that: you don't need access to a private space, you don't waste time travelling to appointments, and you might not even need to have a fixed scheduled appointment. This could mean sending your text communication late at night when traditional appointments are not available.
Time to Reflect. Text Counselling can provide more space and time for you to think about your response and your Clinician's communication. The ability to review past messages is helpful for remembering important details, keeping track of homework or tasks, and reviewing what has changed during your therapeutic journey.
Preferred Expression. For some, written communication is the preferred way of communication. They may feel more comfortable and better able to express themselves over this mode of communication.
Disinhibition. Feeling more willing to open up as your Clinician is not able to see or hear you can decrease potential feelings of judgement or conscientiousness.
What are some draw-backs of text communication?
Disinhibition. Since you feel more willing to share, it may be easier to reveal too much too soon. This could leave you feeling uneasy and vulnerable about your disclosures if the therapeutic relationship with your Clinician is new.
Misinterpretations. Due to the lack of non-verbal and verbal communication, you are left to interpret initial messages on your own. For those who may view things more negatively, this may lead to more negative interpretations of your Clinician's messages. Yet, misinterpretations can happen in any counselling modality, what's important is how you and your Clinician communicate through these.
Technology requirements. Not everyone has access to the internet or a device required for this type of communication.
Unfamiliarity. Unfamiliarity about how distance counselling works may cause anxiety to creep up. Yet, this can also be said for those who experience anxiety going to in-person counselling. Technology anxiety is common, there are uncertainties surrounding potential technology issues which can be out of everyone's control such as a power outage. To decrease this anxiety, your Clinician can prepare for unforeseen issues and create a back-up plan with you.
Lack of felt presence. Some individuals may feel triggered by the distance and space surrounding distance modalities like text counselling. If you find the actual presence of your Clinician important, let your Clinician know.
In the end, it comes down to how you want to express yourself and have that expression met, in terms of communication. Your decision will also be informed by your Clinician's professional opinion about how appropriate the modality of communication is with consideration of your situation. To find out more about whether text counselling may be a good fit, click here. Thanks for visiting.
Take good care and Be You!