What are the risks involved in eCounseling?
As with any intervention or service that you would otherwise solicit, there are risks associated with using this service. Here are the most common:
- Lack of Intimacy: Because you are not in a face-to-face setting, there is a lack of intimacy which may inhibit a true connection and trust between you and your therapist.
- Limited Assessment: Again due to the lack of in-person contact, the therapist will not be able to assess your body language cues or pick up on the nuances of tone that may be indicative of issues that need to be addressed.
- Technology Failure: As we all know, sometimes our computers freeze up or just stop working. If this happens during a session, you might experience frustration. Please be see the following section entitled “What if there is a technology failure?” for more information.
- Confidentiality Breach: We are using software to support the chat sessions that is believed to be very secure. There are number of steps that this software and email accounts take that pretty much guarantee the security of the information. However, there always remains the possible of a security breach, such as if you leave records of your emails or chat sessions where others can access them. There are those who are able to scan emails for certain key words as well. Although the likelihood of an “external” (by someone without direct access to the content of the communication) breach is very small, it is still possible. The bigger risk occurs if you don’t keep your communications secure (using a public or work computer for this service, not password-protecting your email account or profile).
- Emotional Risk: As with any form of counseling, there is an emotional risk involved in undergoing counseling. As a client begins to reveal him/her self, it is expected that there may be painful emotional experiences associated with life that may be discussed. It is the belief of the counselors at Northshore Counseling and Wellness that this is a normal experience in the counseling process, and that one has the potential to come out of counseling having dealt with that pain successfully. In the course of working together, additional problems may surface of which the client was not initially aware. If this occurs, the client should feel free to share these new concerns with the counselor.
What technology is involved in eCounseling?
Our eCounseling uses both email and live chat technologies.
You do have the option of using encrypted email for added security. If you are interested in this, there is a FREE option called SAFe-mail. You can set up your own free email account with them to communicate via email with us.
What if there is a technology failure?
If there is a technology failure on either the client or counselor’s part prior to a scheduled session, an alternative means of counseling may be arranged, or the session may be rescheduled for a later date or time. If technology fails during a session, the counselor will first attempt to reconnect to the client online. If that fails, the client will have been provided with a phone number to call the therapist to make further arrangements.