Distance Counseling is a counseling approach that takes the best practices of traditional counseling as well as some of its own unique advantages and adapts them for delivery to clients via electronic means in order to maximize the use of technology-assisted counseling techniques. The technology-assisted methods may include telecounseling (telephone), secure email communication, chat, videoconferencing or computerized stand-alone software programs.
How is Distance Counseling different than face to face counseling?
There are many differences. Distance Counseling may be more convenient for clients. While telecounseling takes place in real time and does depend on “making an appointment”, traveling and related formalities do not present obstacles. Asynchronous counseling communications via secure email adds even greater flexibility. On the other hand, telecounseling and various forms of email or synchronous chat techniques demand special counseling and communication skills from the counselor, and in certain ways, from the client as well. In its own way, Distance Counseling may also present its own special advantages beyond the replication of best practices from face-to-face counseling. For example, some clients prefer the anonymity of a Distance Counseling relationship and are freer to open up and self-disclose than they would be in a traditional counseling setting. We are also finding that the power of the written word in Distance Counseling provides a profound impact on both the counselor and the client.
My Distance Counseling Certification (DCC) is 5949.
Privacy and Confidentiality in Distance Counseling
Although it is impossible, with the state of the art as it is now, to guarantee that some breech of privacy isn’t possible by serious hackers, it is highly unlikely that the means I have chosen could easily be hacked through my service.
In order to provide the utmost in privacy and confidentiality in online counseling, I communicate with clients via Hushmail, an encrypted, HIPAA compliant privacy program. It is not necessary for you as a client to have Hushmail on your computer to communicate securely with me. However, if you wish, you may install and register the program yourself. Click on Hushmail for the information you need.
I would also consider using Skype with web cam, so long as we discuss and agree to the limits of confidentiality this technology affords. Additionally, for your privacy in telephone counseling, I have followed board recommendations for a land line.
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