Wherever you look at present our responses to Coronavirus are changing the ways we live our lives.  Whether it is in searching for hand sanitiser, or stockpiling pasta, or self isolating, or working from home, life has changed in the last couple of weeks – and that is true for therapists too.  Like others there will be times when our working patterns have to change, along with those of our clients.

Many of us, including myself, would prefer to keep most of our counselling face to face but for some years we at Coupleworks have been using online platforms to ‘see’ clients.  We all did some training in how to work online with clients.  Clare Ireland as long ago as 2012 wrote a blog, on using Skype to provide sessions for those people who for a variety of reasons were unable to come for face-to-face work.  https://coupleworks.co.uk/2012/05/21/working-with-skype/

Some of us in the short term at least will continue to work face to face.  However following guide lines from our professional bodies we will be asking clients to wash their hands when they arrive (or use hand sanitiser) – we will ourselves be washing our hands between sessions and cleaning door handles etc more regularly.  But for those clients who don’t want to attend, or for those therapists who for whatever reasons aren’t able to continue with face to face work, it is perfectly possible to maintain the rhythms of therapy remotely either by telephone or Skype (or similar platforms).  

Here at Coupleworks we are, of course, working to the advice of our professional bodies with regard to face-to-face work but we are also seeking to be as flexible as we can with regard to accommodating the needs of our clients.

Some things don’t change in online work however.  The length of each session remains the same, as does the need for the client, or clients, to be somewhere free from interruption.

In my experience it is very important, particularly at a time of increased social stress, to maintain the regularity of therapeutic sessions wherever that is possible.  We are social beings and it is crucial that we keep well connected with each other. And with increased pressures on mental health and well being that this situation is producing, having the time and space to talk through issues could be even more vital.

Given these conditions remote therapy can be of great value and it is something that is well worth considering as we live through one of the greatest social upheavals of our generation. 

Sarah Fletcher