Skype Therapy – Can it work?

While mostly working in 50 minute face-to-face sessions, I also offer therapy sessions over Skype. This is generally for clients who are unable to meet in person, or for existing clients who are travelling but wish to continue with therapeutic work.  While face-to-face sessions are the ideal, psychotherapy is all about the spoken word and I have found that a lot of good work can be done over Skype. There is much study coming out about distance therapy, whether it’s over Skype, the phone, or even typing.  Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, sat behind his clients while they lay on a couch, so that the spoken word was the main focus of the session, without the distraction of eye-contact or body language. Freud believed that allowing his clients to speak fluidly, with very few interruptions, allowed them to tune in to their unconscious, their emotions, more freely. This focus on the verbal is why counselling and psychotherapy are deemed “talk therapies”.  So how can we utilise this focus on the spoken work in the technological age?

Below is a succinct article on the topic  entitled “Psychotherapy via Skype: a therapist’s experience” by by Francesca A. Bell, published by the Royal College of Psychiatry in 2013.  If you are interested in a Skype session, I would recommend giving it a read. It mirrors my views on the benefits of online therapeutic work with clients and gives me confidence that online therapy (when done correctly and with people who are qualified and conscientious) can be an excellent tool to help people who would otherwise not be in a position to seek help. For example, those in remote locations and/or those housebound with chronic physical illness, agoraphobia, social anxiety and other mental health related obstacles. Agoraphobia is greatly linked to anxiety, with panic disorder in particular leading to agoraphobia in many cases.  The potential for help through therapy over Skype for people struggling with these debilitating issues could be great.

If a therapy session over Skype seems like something you would be interested in, feel free to get in touch via bebhinnfarrelltherapy@gmail.com

http://pb.rcpsych.org/content/37/4/144

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