I find it fascinating. We are living in COVID time. I wonder, if this ever ends, we will be looking back and be like, whoa, COVID time…That is when everything changed and this happened and that happened.
One of the things that has happened in the therapeutic field–drug and alcohol treatment, mental health treatment–is a lot of people began to work from home. They began to offer what used to be an in-person experience–therapy, counseling, even spiritual work–via Zoom or FaceTime or other platforms.
Remote Therapy: A Counselor’s Thoughts
And so as I work in the field, like a lot of people, I am asking, “Okay, what is going on here? Is this working? Is this sustainable? Is this good? Should we keep this? What if it goes back to normal? Should we keep doing this Zoom session, this kind of thing?”
And the first thing I noticed–because I always notice the bullshit first, that’s just my cynical part–is people started saying, “I see a lot of things better about Zoom.” A lot of therapists that I know seem to think that.
And I was kind of like, well, that is convenient because you are at home.
So if you said, this really sucks, it is a bad incentive because you get paid to not leave your house now. Be on the computer and probably like to keep it that way if and when things go back to normal.
But if I asked you right before COVID, what do you think is more effective, a Zoom session or an in-person session, I doubt you would say Zoom. But now, suddenly, I hear that a lot. That being said, I think there are a few benefits to Zoom.
Pros and Cons of Video Counseling
One of the benefits is, because you are communicating through a medium, there are some layers removed there. And so for a lot of people–because a lot of people suffer from anxiety–it is hard to have somebody look at you. Even if you do not have anxiety, just intimacy is difficult for people. It is a little less intimate. And because it is a little less intimate, it might mean you are a little more comfortable. And because you are a little more comfortable, it might make that process of being vulnerable easier.
So I think that is a big deal and really helpful. Of course, there is the exact same downside…it is a little less intimate. And sometimes the most powerful moments that we experience in a therapeutic process, spiritual process, or counseling is a deep moment of intimacy with another human being in the room.
That is when the healing generally happens, to be witnessed, seen and held by another human being in a deep and transformative way. It can happen by Zoom, but it is not nearly as intimate.
Zoom works a little differently for everybody. I have been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, among other things. I have a difficult time staying focused on a screen for multiple hours during the day, whether I am on the receiving end or the counseling end. And that is just how I am built.
And so I think that a huge piece is differentiating who benefits early on. In drug and alcohol treatment, I think absolutely no way. I think people need physical contact with other human beings early on.
By early on, I just even mean the first couple of weeks. There is somebody else there that is real, that is grounding you and with you. Someone breathing with you as long as you can see, etc.
Just Another Way to Feel Disconnected?
So, in general, there are tradeoffs. I think remote counseling will stick around and will be somewhat beneficial. But, my concern about it, I would say in the long term, is about people being disconnected from themselves in general for reasons I have talked about in other videos.
Our society seems to be more and more atomized and disconnected. And it is like, here is one more form of separation from each other. And so it is not my cup of tea in general, but we will do the best we can with it.
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