The demand for mental health care services to be accessible online is rapidly increasing, resulting in a career path that is both rewarding and in high-demand. E-Counselling is a unique form of counselling that digitally connects qualified mental health care workers with
individuals who need support to overcome and manage their mental health issues.
If you want to work in an industry that is dedicated to helping others, a career as an E-Counsellor may be for you.
What is E-counselling?
The rise of telehealth services has changed the way we receive, and work in, mental health care services. E-Counselling is a form of telehealth that combines counselling with digital technology. Qualified counsellors are able to provide their skills and knowledge with individuals who need support via online services, such as emails and video chats. A major benefit of E-Counselling is that it can open up your skills to a wide range of clients, meaning that you are able to help more people, more often.
Due to Australia’s vast geographical landscape, remote communities continue to face communication challenges which limits their ability to access mental health care services. Thankfully, E-Counselling bridges the gap between at-risk individuals and counsellors by providing a useful way for them to connect, despite their geographical distance.
Differences between E-Counselling and Traditional Counselling
- Instead of talking face-to-face, E-Counsellors connect with clients online and communicate via text or video chat. This means that E-counsellors must be more versatile in their communication and technology skills in order to help their clients.
- Online communication allows both the client and E-Counsellor to reflect more deeply on what they say, think and feel during each session, which may benefit the therapy process.
- A traditional counsellor may work in a business office within business hours, whereas E-Counsellors may work from a home office, allowing them to have more flexible work hours.
What skills are needed by E-Counsellors?
- Be qualified: This is most important skill you need to be an E-Counsellor. TrainSmart Australia offers a 12-month Diploma of Counselling course that will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to become a trained counsellor.
- Strong communication skills: Strong written and verbal communication skills are required by E-counsellors as they communicate with clients over text or hold counselling sessions online via video calls. Maintaining eye contact and holding a strong posture communicates to the client that you are engaged with what they have to say, encouraging them to be more open with their thoughts and willing to listen to your advice.
- Technology skills: It is necessary that you know how to work basic online platforms, such as E-therapy.com.au. E-therapy.com.au is an Australian online counselling platform that provides secure emails, chat and Skype. Counsellors have the ability to securely create their own templates which can be used in a session, create session times with clients, accept/decline bookings, as well as the ability to access saved chat logs from previous sessions.
- Use of online templates: A great tool that ensures that you are accurately recording the client’s behaviours and responses as you observe them.
Establishing a Positive Counselling Relationship
In E-Counselling, positive counselling relationships are established via obtaining consent from the client that they understand and agree to format of online counselling. Other ways positive counselling relationships can be established are by:
Setting guidelines on the length of the session that is paid for. The counsellor will actively make note of the time and summarise the session with the client prior to the end to ensure that they do not run over the allocated time.
- Obtaining their permission to record the session and make notes; this is a legal requirement that must be agreed upon prior to starting. Recording of a video session may be necessary if the counsellor needs to write up conclusive summary notes and to document the number of hours worked.
- Letting the client know that all templates, summary notes and video recordings will be safely stored and backed up in the client’s personal E-record; an electronic filing system that stores private information and is password protected by the counsellor.
How to practice confidential E-Counselling
Privacy and confidentiality are a vital aspect of E-Counselling. Here are some important ways to guarantee that the client’s privacy and confidentiality is kept:
- Ensure that you have the client’s informed consent. This can be done through an online form which requires their name and signature to confirm they understand the format of online counselling and consent to the service.
- Use electronic signatures via Docusign to confirm that the individual needing help is who they say they are before starting the session. Alternatively, photo ID can be used. The client would scan and send their photo ID to the counsellor, who would then store it in their clients E-record and be able to check the ID against the individual once the session has started.
- Ensure that the client’s payment methods and details are kept confidential. For example, Docusign allows the counsellor to send out payment requests to their clients. The client will be able to sign and pay for the session by using various methods. A receipt can then be sent to the client’s email to confirm their payment.
Become an E-Counsellor
E-Counselling is an important mental health care service that is in need of qualified workers to join the growing industry in order to help address Australia’s mental health crisis. It is a recognised career under Medicare, meaning that the recent $1.1 billion relief package released by the Australian government will ensure that ECounselling services will be supported in order to continue providing essential mental health services for all Australians. In other words, it is a career that would provide you with a very secure and rewarding work life.
TrainSmart Australia’s Diploma of Counselling is the stepping stone you need to enter into the mental health industry, and ultimately become an E-Counsellor. If you are wanting to take the next step in your career and make a difference in Australia’s mental health industry, enrol with TrainSmart Australia today!