Friday, February 12, 2010

Skype counselling

As one does what one does and in my case that is psychotherapy and counselling one always seeks the new and different. Hey!! if you don’t one gets old in mind or in my case I would get bored out of my little mind. In recent times I have had occasion to do therapy using Skype on my computer.

Of course with a new medium of human communication comes new facetiae with that. The good and the bad I suppose one could say. If you have not used Skype, when you talk with someone you see their face in the main screen and also your own face in the bottom left hand corner.

On Skype you see two faces on the screen as you talk with the other person. The client’s in the main screen and yours in a smaller section at the bottom left hand corner. In a normal therapy setting it would be like having a mirror sitting next to the client that reflected back the top half of your body. One is constantly receiving two images - the client and yourself. This, as you can imagine is a new set of circumstances in the counselling situation. Not many therapists have a mirror set up next to the client so they can see their own reflection whilst counselling. With Skype you do whether you want it or not.

What does this new ingredient mean for the counselling process and the therapeutic relationship? Well I have been known to possess some of the traits of the narcissistic personality. Only the good ones and not the bad ones I may add! Thus Skype counselling means I can look at my self through the hour long counselling session. The perfect counselling session for the narcissistic personality. This is a good thing one may think. But if one does that clients will quickly tire of such self absorption on behalf of the therapist and c’est la vie, go find a real job.

Me, myself and I in Belgrade

But what it does mean if I get to see an image of myself continually in the treatment process? I get to see what the client sees on a second by second basis. This gives me one source of information and also I get to see my behavioural reactions to the client on a second by second basis which is the second source of information.

In non Skype therapy I have three main sources of information.

1. Behavioural observations of the client as they talk

2. The content of what they are saying

3. My Child ego state intuitive feeling reactions to the client

With Skype one has more sources of information.

4. What the client is seeing second by second

5. What my behavioural reactions to the client are on a second by second basis

6. My Child ego state intuitive feeling reactions to my behavioural reactions to the client.

As you can imagine this was a veritable tsunami of new information as a therapist. Never before have I been privy to such information from the client’s perspective. At the outset it was kind of information overload.

How can I take in all this new information, let alone comprehend it and compute it for the client’s benefit. Instead of the familiar three sources of information all of a sudden it had doubled to six sources of information. Slowly one develops a new method of information processing which is what I am doing at this stage of this new method of counselling.

This is probably incomplete, in fact I can say it is definitely incomplete and it will be edited later. Tomorrow probably. It is friday night at 10.58pm and I have had 2 glasses of chardonnay. I know i shouldn’t but what the heck



  1. It's even worse when the other person isn't using headphone and you hear your own voice through their speakers which then gets picked up by their mic and sent to you.
    And then you are better able to see their reactions to your words because you are not talking at the moment they are hearing.

    Video chats are awkward. They can be fun, but they're very strange. I feel often like I need to overexagerate my facial expressions often otherwise they might be missed, not sure why.

    My old therapist once mentioned the possibility of doing skype therapy, but insurance wouldn't cover it so it didn't happen.

    It could have been neat though aside the awkwardness. I think it's be neat for a therapist to see my living environment in the background. It'd be a way for them to get a sense of where I spend my time without the invasion that'd be felt from them actually being in my home.

  2. Well TOCPM i agree with your last comment.

    The Australian Psychological Society has in recent times has suggested that they make more home visits where appropriate. I have found it very useful to visit a clients home and one gets invaluable information. A much more complete understanding of the psychology of the client by being able to see there home. that may seem starnge but it does.

    With skype counseling I have found that I start to move more and really become a bit more demonstrative in my movements when I get the visual feedback that skype gives. This really does has tremendous potential in influencing the relationship between the client and the therapist. We will have to see what happens.

    Take care my friend


  3. Have you read "Snoop" by Sam Gosling?
    It's about learning about people's personality from looking at their room/home.

  4. No I haven't lee,

    but it seems Sam and I are of the same conviction.

    If you really want to get deep into their psyche have nosey around in their refridgeator and cupboards. Do you keep your cans of food in a straight line Lee?

    I am not sure if it is OK to call you Lee in public like this but TOCPM seems so unfriendly.


  5. You could call me "Tales" or something, but yea would prefer not Lee

    My cans are in a plastic bin where I keep food items. Tend to not have more than 2 cans at a time, so not much of a line is possible.

  6. Hi Tales,

    Are your cupboards ordered like a shelf in the supermarket or randomly disordered my friend


  7. Here you go Tony,

    A picture of my cupboard
    I don't use it for food, just stuff food goes in.

  8. Hi Tales,

    Not too sure if I like Tales can I call you Major or is that too military sounding?. I could call you the 'z' name but you may want to keep that one private as well.

    As to the photograph of your cupboards?

    Definitely random disorder!!


  9. The z name is way worse to use than lee
    Don't want links to my blog popping up on googles of it

    And heh, Major works :P

    I dunno if I would call it random, there's some order, just not a lot.

    Like my puzzle pieces ice cube tray? That's from a phase where I thought a fun new way to self injure would be to do that thing with the salt and ice and I thought I'd do it in fun shapes so I'd have a mark like that. Turns out the shape doesn't stay very well.

  10. Hey major,

    I must say that I agree with your comment about not a lot of order but I suppose one could see some order there if they looked really really hard.

    yes I see the ice cube tray. I don't know the ice and salt thing, how does it work.


  11. I don't 100% understand how it works. But it has something to do with the salt lowering the temp water freezes at.
    Hurts/burns then it stops hurting. I think it's basically a controlled frostbite. Wasn't the greatest idea I've ever had.

    If you google it there's a lot of stories about people trying it.

  12. I like that major,

    controlled frostbite.


  13. Oh my goodness Tony!! It's flooding here. Not a big BIG flood mind, but water everywhere and less land about. We've lost some really good logs that were down the back - it hasn't rained decently for atleast 20 years, i guess we took the dry spell for granted. They floated away - probably out to sea. Bye bye logs.

    I have the grand son here today. I'm thinking of lying on the bed with him hoping he'll have a nap. If you're the betting kind, i think the odds of him taking a nap are over 100 to 1.

    *Giggles* You get that...

  14. The grand son and his nap - didn't even get close to shutting one eye let-a-lone a nap! Most of the water is gushing out to sea and the rain has stopped for now. We have no fences left - we're going to have to go to Tasmania and New Zealand to get all the materials cause that's probably where they will be in a few weeks! Holy smokes!

    Hope your doing ok in all that heat over there. Not jealous at all - really truly! - i love the rain. Happy dreams to you...

  15. Controled frostbite? Ouch! That technique doesn't sound controled at all. I don't understand it sorry...

  16. Scype Counceling?

    Sounds too new age even for me
    Even though I consider my self Internet literate I need to see my T infront of me in real life

    And even when i become a therapist (expressive Art therapist ) I dont see my self doing virtual T
    Just A Gal

  17. Well that is no good Roses,
    Loosing your logs from down the back!
    Hubby should have tied them down

    Hope you got your Gson to sleep as I bet $5.00

    On Skype I think you have high Free Child and it is especially good to hear the way you speak about your sister.


  18. Hello Just a Gal,

    I agree with you that it is best to have face to face therapy but some countries don't have therapists. Or sometimes it is hard to find a therapist that works Ok for you and then Skype becomes a viable alternative to my mind


  19. Well Tony,
    Say good bye to ur $5! No nap time yesterday.

    We've found lots of our neighbours fences in our yard. I don't know who ended up with ours. I'm just giggling to myself saying that. Fences are supposed to be so... perminant aren't they? I like the way this most recent rain deluge had proven how much our imagination works when it comes to bounderies.

    Like as if we can build fences or walls to keep others out. Most of the time they just keep us locked in and something as simple as rain can just wash it all away. So funny really.

    My sister had a dog once who would walk around outside the fence but when a car or ute came along that he wanted to chase he would run inside the fence and race barking up and down the fence at the vehicle. We think we're so safe inside the fence.

    A lot of life is 'pretend' isn't it Tony? Strange but true...

  20. Oh Tony,

    A lady from the organ donors thingy just called to check how I was going. She mentioned my sisters husband but I haven't seen him since the day after the funeral.

    It made me remember that i'm supposed to be sad but i can't help being me. And that I wanted to be a support to him but i prefer that my hubby do that.

    I don't quite know how i feel now or how i'm supposed to feel and if i'm feeling the right way or not and i'm pretty clueless as to how that would feel anyway. Do you know what I mean? Its a bit confusing.

    I'm supposed to be sad, and i am, but only some times... does that make sense at all?

  21. Hello Shraddha,

    yes I am learning much about this new medium of counselling


  22. The logs are still in the back yard... along with everyone's fences but they're still there! They must like us or something. It is only me or is that just too weird...

    I went to Tia chi this afternoon... an hour late. So annoyed about that!

    Happy Monday night...

  23. Hello Roses,

    how are you supposed to feel now?

    Just follow your Free Child Roses.

    As I said before, from our skype conversations, when I listen to you talk about your sister I think you are doing great and have a good healthy attitude towards her loss and your bereavement.

    Row, row, row your boat.....


  24. ‘Percy Jackson and the lightening thief’, is showing at the ‘Bay Cinema tomorrow morning at 9.20am. A lady friend is coming to pick me up (7.30am because her car has the sniffles and needs attention) and we are intending to go to Mrs J’s Coffee Emporium (Gloria Jean’s of cause!) and then to the movies. Life can be so nice sometimes can’t it?

    I’m all excited about getting back into study again soon. Time just flies when the world kicks one in the teeth a few times and while in hospital one gets to eat as much icecream and jelly one wants. Have a lovely sleep and... Oh my goodness! It will be tomorrow in the morning!

    Nighty night... an excited me

  25. Actually, for a kids movie, it was a really good picture. While up there we met an other lovely lady who I have not seen in years and years (like i mean... YEARS!) and wow - nothings changed there. Or did we just do the 'falling into place' thing.

    You know, when family get together and we convert back into the way it was when we were kids. That doesn't happen so much in our family - I'm not the 10 year old little girl i was back then and won't be no matter how hard i work at it.

    I'm 47. Have been since May. They know it so I guess that's that. Of cause no one has to like that but that's their business. I can't help the way things change but perhaps I can meet them anew and get to know them and vice versa *Shrugs*.

    Have no idea why i'm on this rant so it will stop now.

    Hope you're having an... interesting day. Cheers...

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