Tele-Counseling — Had we even heard that word before we became quarantined? Now it’s a buzz word everywhere along with wash your hands, wear a mask and stockpile toilet paper. Emerge Counseling had begun offering tele-counseling services prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, but with the quarantine, we have ramped up our tele-counseling services.
So you might be asking, just what is tele-counseling? How do I access it? What can I expect?
Tele-counseling services through Emerge Counseling offer our Christ-centered clinical counseling through an online platform. Instead of meeting with your clinician in their office at one of our several Emerge Counseling extension sites, you will be meeting online from the comfort of your own home. Emerge Counseling currently uses Microsoft Teams, a free app with no account required, to provide excellent video call connection between clients and clinicians. Your appointment time will still be the clinical hour you are used to when in the office. Many counseling interventions are easily transferred to this online platform, so continued work on your treatment plan goals can continue without disruption.
There are some differences with tele-counseling to note. Obviously first, you and your clinician are not in the same physical space and there are some limits to what all you can observe on a screen. This can reduce some aspects of the non-verbal interactions you may be used to having in session. Second, it may at first feel a bit odd or less comfortable. This is something you and your clinician can discuss and work on together to find ways to make the process more comfortable. However, beginning counseling in the office may not have been the most comfortable process ever, but you worked through it and found ways to engage. For some, tele-counseling actually feels more comfortable. Third, you may have some distractions and interruptions being at home. Do your best to find a quiet space and set limits so you can get the most out of your counseling session.
There are some great advantages to tele-counseling right now. It provides a safe way to access counseling services, either continuing work already begun in the office or initiating new services. And, like a physical appointment, your tele-counseling is covered by most insurances. This is a time when all of us need support, so having tele-counseling available to continue to work on mental health and overall well-being goals is a great asset for coping during this pandemic. And the best advantage of all is that you can show up to counseling in your pjs and it’s totally okay!
Sarah Queen, MA, LPCC-S
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Extension Site Team Leader
Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Extension Site Team Leader at Emerge Counseling Ministries, and is a graduate of Huntington University (B.S. in Educational Ministries) and Ashland University & Theological Seminary (M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling). She has a Certificate in Formational Prayer from Ashland Theological Seminary and is a trained EMDR Therapy Clinician. She works with adult women, adolescents, children, and families on a wide range of areas including anxiety, clinical counseling & Christian spiritual interventions, depression, domestic violence, family relationships, parenting, self-esteem, trauma, and more. She is also a presenter for Emerge Counseling’s Center for Pastoral Counseling, System Administrator for our electronic health records system, and clinical member of the collaboration between Emerge Counseling and Rahab Ministries.