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  • Writer's picturelaurenstreetcounselling

Have we lost our ability to connect?

Is online counselling the way forward or are we allowing ourselves to hide behind a screen?


Have you noticed that more and more counsellors are offering online counselling? By doing so this poses many benefits such as client flexibility, reduced costs & quicker/ smarter interactions. However does this come at a cost of the human connection? More importantly are there limits to the online therapy practice?


I offer a mixture of online and face to face counselling in order to give my clients a flexible service. If a client can't make their regular appointment, travel for business or moves away and doesn't want to find someone new it makes sense doesn't it to offer them an online platform? However, when does this go too far?


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) believes a new online app called Deprexis should be trialled by the NHS as a quicker route to treatment for depression. Whilst this is still in the trial phase across NHS England would these funds be better spent on giving a client access to a real life counsellor?

The app, which was developed in Germany, uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help people assess themselves and develop their own coping strategies. It can be used on any smartphone, tablet or desktop computer that has Internet access.

We are still taught as counselling practitioners that 55% of communication comes from body language, 38% from language tone and only 7% comes from the language spoken (Mehrabian, 1967) If we take this away and give a client buttons to click rather than using language and physical contact are we kidding ourselves that this will improve their state of mind leading to lasting change?


Dr Paul Chrisp, programme director of the medical and technologies programme at NICE, said: 

“Deprexis is a digital therapy that could help speed up access to care and free up therapist time to treat more people. This new programme, funded by NHS England, has meant that we can now open up access to innovative therapies by recommending them for real-world evidence study. Our aim is to provide evidence-based advice so services can make informed decisions and people have more flexible options to treat anxiety and depression.”


I can't help but feel that by taking away 100% of the human element in counselling is one step far in the online counselling process. It seemingly bypasses any form of risk assessment, clinical assessment and integrative counselling treatment. By having a "one size fits all" model this doesn't allow for individuality in treatment or a personal connection with someone who is able to identify potential triggers and risk. Modern technology and online platforms are a great way of enhancing the human element of counselling. However, they should never act as a replacement for creating a human connection that could help build lasting change.


If you're looking to start or continue your therapy journey please contact me via email at laurenstreetcounselling@yahoo.com or call my mobile 07801 331880 to see if I can help you move forward and achieve your goals.

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