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What is email counselling?

How does email counselling work?

The most simple explanation is that email counselling involves the client and counsellor exploring the client's concerns via email on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

At the start of our work together, the client and I agree a day each week (or fortnight) on which they will send their message to me.

I usually suggest that the client spends up to an hour writing their email (i.e. the length of time they would spend in a traditional face-to-face counselling session.) We might also agree an approximate length for the email - e.g. between one and three pages.

Once I receive the client's email, I then reply by an agreed day, which will usually be 48 hours later. I spend up to an hour reading and responding to the client's message.

Is email counselling private and secure?

Yes. The client's email is only seen and read by me, the counsellor, in a private space.

I always encourage the client to read and reply to my response in a place which is quiet, private and in which they will not be interrupted or distracted by others.

When I respond to the client's email, I always send my reply as an attachment (password-protected) via encrypted email. I also suggest that the client writes and attaches their email as a Word document which can then be password-protected.

Who is email counselling suitable for?

Email counselling is suitable for anyone who feels comfortable writing down their thoughts and feelings. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are not important.

As long as the client is able to send and receive emails, and has a quiet private space in which to read and write messages, then email counselling can be a very effective alternative to face-to-face counselling.

Are there times when email counselling is not appropriate?

Email counselling may not be appropriate for someone requiring urgent support or who prefers face-to-face counselling (whether in-person or online).

Is email counselling effective?

In short: yes! For a variety of reasons, some clients prefer not to have face-to-face counselling and, instead, choose to work via email. While email counselling works differently, in that there is usually no face-to-face contact between the client and counsellor, it offers an opportunity for clients to reflect deeply on their situation and express their thoughts and feelings in a way that is not always easy in a face-to-face context.

What do I do if I'd like to explore this further?

Get in touch to find out more.


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