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My personal experience of email counselling

Back in 2017 I decided to give email counselling a go as a client.

In the beginning I wasn’t sure if email counselling would work. I had so many questions …

  • Would I not need to actually see my counsellor to trust her and feel able to open up?

  • Would my counsellor not need to see me and read my body language to be able to help me?

  • Could my emails be read by others, and would my words be confidential?

  • What would I write and how could emails really help me therapeutically?

Although I am a counsellor myself, I wanted to try this way of communicating as I was curious and sceptical as to how/if email counselling really works.

I am pleased to say it did work and it helped me so much!

In this blog I share what I got out of the experience and how this gave me the enthusiasm to study additional specialist training in online counselling so I could offer the wonders of email counselling to my clients.

This led to me writing a book for counsellors on email counselling. Find out more about my book here.

How does email counselling actually work?

Each week I would send an email at an agreed time and my counsellor would reply offering her thoughts/reflections as well as some questions to get me thinking. It felt very different not having to travel to a therapist’s office, turn up at a set time, and stop talking when the clock told me to.

I liked this as it felt quite freeing to have the flexibility to write in my own space, at my pace, and read her replies when I was ready.

Not having to find a set session time was a big advantage as I was very busy with work during the day. This meant I could write late in the evening when the house was quiet and take my time to think about what I wanted to say.

In the past, with traditional counselling sessions, I sometimes found it difficult to focus, ending up forgetting what my counsellor had said. With email counselling I liked having the time to keep reading over her reply and really take the words in.

No clock was telling me to stop.

Email counselling enabled me to explore things I had never been brave enough to broach out loud with a counsellor before.

A bonus was that I had a record of all my sessions to read back whenever I wanted.

I still have those emails and can read them if I feel low.

My personal experience as a client showed me that email counselling is very different from traditional counselling but offers many benefits as it’s much more accessible and flexible.

Where did I take my personal experience next?

This very positive and transformative experience of email counselling motivated me to learn more.

As a qualified counsellor I wanted to offer this to my clients too, so in 2018 I undertook an additional course in online counselling, which covered email counselling, and I’ve been offering it as an option ever since.

Back in 2018 a lot of people hadn’t heard of email counselling.

However, when the Covid pandemic hit the world in 2020 there was a sudden increase in demand for online counselling as lockdowns meant we could no longer meet in person.

During the lockdowns email counselling in particular surged in popularity in my counselling practice as people needed more privacy and did not want to risk being overheard in a house full of people.

There continues to be a growing demand for email counselling but, sadly, there is still a lack of counsellors trained to work in this way.

A very different and complex set of skills are required.

Are you a counsellor ready to learn more?

As a counsellor today I am passionate about dispelling the myth that email counselling is not proper counselling. It was an amazing experience for me and I want more clients to experience this.

If you are a counsellor and would like to learn more about email counselling, then I’m excited to announce I have written a book for you.

My new book on email counselling

My new e-book is called Email Counselling: An Introduction for Counsellors. In it I share how email counselling works from a counsellor’s perspective.

You will learn:

  • How email counselling helps clients talk about sex

  • How to manage boundaries in email counselling

  • Why the disinhibition effect matters in email counselling

  • How email counselling can free our assumptions about race

  • Why clients and counsellors choose email counselling

  • Why email counselling is popular with LGBTQ+ clients

Packed full of opportunities for counsellors to reflect on practical considerations and pros and cons, this book will help you decide if email counselling would work for you in your practice.

Are you ready to learn more and feel empowered to join our growing army of email counsellors?


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