Biblical Counseling Via Skype Is Possible!
“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.” ~Steve Wozniak
Online Biblical Counseling Via Skype
Technology has become an essential part of all of our lives. While using the internet as a mode of communication for counseling may seem somewhat unconventional, online video conferencing is an effective, confidential and convenient alternative to face-to-face sessions.
Many people now enjoy the convenience of working on themselves and getting support in their own homes and offices where they feel most comfortable. A counseling session via Skype is very similar to one in my office. You will have an appointment to meet with me on Skype and we will spend the same time together as we would in my office. Skype will enable us to see each other and respond in real time – I find this much more effective than a phone or chat appointment. We will both be able to see each other’s expressions, hear each other’s tone of voice and I can even draw my less-than-artistic pictures to illustrate ideas!
You may enjoy the benefit of Skype sessions if you;
- Live in a remote place where counseling services are inaccessible.
- Feel uncomfortable about visiting a counselor’s office or you do not want others to know that you go see a counselor.
- Would like to work on yourself in a place where you feel comfortable.
- Are very busy and do not have time to travel to counseling services.
- Would like to try out counseling to be sure it’s right for you.
- Have a physical disability or illness that makes travel challenging or care for someone who does.
- Travel frequently and want to continue counseling while away from home.
Online biblical counseling is NOT appropriate for everyone; there are issues which it is not able to adequately support. These include, but are not limited to:
- Suicidal thoughts/Intent
- Thoughts of harming yourself or others
- Acute psychiatric episodes such as psychosis
- Intoxicated or drugged states
If you are experiencing any of the above issues, please contact your doctor, seek the help of a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional, and /or dial 911 immediately.
Skype Session Tips
The following tips may be useful to make your sessions more effective:
- Please try to create a private space free of distractions and other people’s presence as best you can during the session times (and preferably 10 minutes or so before and after the sessions.)
- You may need to use a head set with microphone so that you have your hands free if your speaker produces an echo.
- Plan to have your materials handy – Bible, note pad, pen, etc. Even in Skype sessions, we will use materials and you will be expected to do some “home work” and go over it during our sessions.
- If you have phones with you or in the room, please turn them off or set it in silent mode. Plan against any distractions you think might interrupt our session – treat it as if you were in my private office.
- Place your computer at a comfortable height and distance to be able to “see and be seen.” I prefer being able to see you at least from the waist up in order to take advantage of “body language” cues.
- Depending on the position of our respective cameras, we may experience difficulty with eye contact. This can be distracting, but I find that we will adjust fairly quickly.
- Please familiarize yourself with the Skype program and practice using it before our first session. If we run into difficulties during a session I will do my best to help you troubleshoot, but it’s best if you have someone who can help you on site before or after our sessions.
- If we run into “technological difficulties” we can finish our session by telephone and attempt to remedy the problem(s) before our next session.
- Skype is similar to using a cell phone – only one of us can talk at a time. It may be a little awkward at first, but we will adjust fairly quickly.
- Online counseling is for those who are comfortable with computers and able to use videoconferencing technology. You will need a high speed internet connection for best results. It is not for you if you are not comfortable with computers or unable to use videoconferencing technology confidently.
- The program I use is Skype, a free, high quality video conferencing program that allows us to see and hear each other using your computer and webcam (and headset if you choose). Skype is free and easy to download off the internet or install as an app, is free of adware/malware/spyware etc. and, most importantly, is confidential. You can use Skype on your desktop computer, mobile phone or even tablet (such as an iPad).
Is Skype Confidential?
- Yes, all Skype sessions are encrypted to ensure privacy and confidentiality. You can read more about how Skype protects your privacy on the Skype website.
Get Started with Skype
If you’re new to Skype, follow all the steps. If you’ve already got a Skype account, go straight to step 3.
1. Go the Skype website and sign up for an account.
2. Download and install the latest version of Skype for Windows or Mac, or on your iPad, Android tablet or even your smart phone. Visit the Skype support section if you need help with setting up or using Skype.
3. If using a computer, you will need a webcam if your computer doesn’t have one built in, and possibly a headset. View information on setting up your headset and setting up your webcam.
4. Go to my schedule now page to set your first appointment. You will receive confirmation by email. As with in-office counseling, the first session is an introductory session and there is no charge.
5. Once you’ve set up your first appointment, I’ll let you know my Skype username so you can add me to your Contact List. View instructions on adding contacts for Mac, Windows, iPad and Android tablets.
I look forward to meeting you online!
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