10 Reasons to Choose Email Counselling (and 3 Reasons Not to)

The world is changing fast, and counselling is too. Below are ten reasons many individuals find that email counselling can be therapeutic during times of need. (Scroll down to find three reasons NOT to choose email counselling!)

  1. You can communicate with your counsellor when you need to, rather than waiting for their schedule to open. You can write a letter, or review a past letter. Your counsellor isn’t present, but taking the time and space to write to them means that you are reflecting and working on solving your own problems.
  2. You don’t need to set aside a whole hour all at once. You can write, read, review and reflect bit by bit over time. In fact, counsellors who do this work encourage it!
  3. Conversely, you can take longer than an hour if you need to! There is no need to fit your whole story, and all your complicated emotions, into 50-60 minutes. You can take the time you need to compose your thoughts before you press “send”.
  4. There is no parking, gas money, time off work, or travel time to worry about.
  5. If you are housebound or live in a remote community, online counselling can be an ideal option.
  6. Email counselling affords you increased anonymity; many people find it much easier to lower inhibitions and talk about difficult subjects in a letter.
  7. Email counselling is private. There is no chance that someone will see your car, or that you will bump into someone you know. No one will see you walk into a counselling office. Unlike video counselling, there is no chance that someone will overhear.
  8. You have the option of having a permanent written record of everything you and your counsellor have to say over time. It is like keeping a personal journal, except that you are communicating with a professional. This can be helpful to track changes, or as a source of encouragement when you are feeling low. Various parts of your letters might only become meaningful later.
  9. You save money. Even though you get to spend more time sharing your story, and the counsellor still spends an hour writing their reply, email counselling is often a bit cheaper, as there is less overhead involved in providing services to you. You may even save money as you may not have to return to your counsellor for a refresher if similar problems return – you just have to go back to your letters.
  10. By setting aside the time to sit down and write (rather than attend an appointment at a certain time) you are forced to take ownership over your own healing process. You aren’t doing it because it’s what your counsellor expects, you are doing it for yourself!

Still wondering if counselling by email can really help you heal and create change? Check out this blog posting.

Why NOT Counselling by Email?

Online counselling is not for everyone.

  1. If you may be at risk of violence (or of hurting someone yourself) or are feeling suicidal, you need to access more immediate face to face counselling in your local community.
  2. If you feel overwhelmed by strong emotions and unable to manage them on your own, you should not choose online counselling.
  3. You may require more specialist medical treatment than what online counselling can provide, especially if you have been diagnosed with psychosis or an eating disorder.

Keep in mind that my responses are not immediate. Typically, my commitment is to respond within two of my business days. For more immediate choices, keep an eye out for RSCC Resources page (coming soon).