The flashing cursor, on what was a blank screen,  served as a constant reminder that I haven’t selected a specific topic to write about. It’s not that I don’t have any, in fact the opposite is true, there are several, but none seem to have hooked my interest for more than a few fleeting moments.  I could dress my lack of subject connection up by saying I’m adopting a phenomenological approach and allowing things to emerge but who do I think I’m fooling!  If this was a moment in face to face practice, I dare say we might reflect on how to work with the silence. And there lies my topic, the concept of how to manage our internal silence online.

As a tutor I am often greeted by a range of questions students have on the practicalities of working online. These include; How do I establish and sustain a therapeutic relationship with clients online?   How do I assess risk online? What are the limits of confidentiality? And the one we all have a nagging concern about, is how do we manage a technology failure.

 

All of these are crucial considerations for online ethical practice and as such are factors that warrant exploration, discussion and agreement between client and therapist by means of a working agreement.  Over the years, I have noticed an increase in the tendency to focus on this aspect of the therapeutic process. Our work seems to be increasingly influenced by a shift in the need to demonstrate evidence of safeguarding policies and procedures.  Reflecting on this shift, I wonder if it has tipped the balance in favour of a “doing” as opposed to “being” culture within our profession. Don’t get me wrong I am not negating the need to show evidence around consideration of risk and informed assessment. After-all, working remotely brings its own unique set of challenges within these areas.

 

What I am questioning is whether being immersed in a “doing” mode creates distance from our ability to be introspective and assess our resilience to work with and contain clients who may be medium to high risk.

Isn’t that what we go to supervision I hear you say. The answer to which, of course is yes.   We all know the importance and value of good supervision in aiding personal and professional development. However, I’m also reminded of my subscription to the ethos that the expert of a person is the individual themselves. With that in mind a possible question could be how do we go about assessing our resilience in a way that is compatible with our profession and congruent with our individual way of being?

At OLT we are acutely aware of the uniqueness of each practitioner and their potential clients. With that in mind we actively promote, encourage and support our students in the development of their own models of risk assessment and personal development plans  in a bid to help track their cultivation of resilience https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/resilience

Looking back, as well as life experience, my resilience for containing myself and clients online is rooted in the robust, ethical and formal training I received at Online training for counsellors Ltd.

Perhaps, the New Year may bring a change of direction for your practice. If working online professionally and ethically is a potential avenue for exploration, I invite you to contact our administrator Jasmine jasmine@onlinetrainingforcounsellors.co.uk who will guide you through the various formal trainings we offer and  the subsequent qualifications you could gain.

Thank you for reading!

Maria O’Brien
Director | Supervisor | Tutor
Online Training for Counsellors Ltd

e.maria@onlinetrainingforcounsellors.co.uk
w.www.onlinetrainingforcounsellors.co.uk

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