I’m a clinical counsellor, supervisor and educator based in Central Victoria.
I’m a Clinical member of PACFA* (Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia) and an accredited PACFA supervisor.
I am also a member of ACSA (Australian Clinical Supervision Association).
As a Clinical member of PACFA* I enjoyed having an active role in their College of Counselling Leadership Group from 2016-2021.
From 2017-2021, I was delighted to be a board member of the Australasian Association of Supervision and took the role of secretary for that time.
All counselling, supervision and reflective practice services are delivered online using online video link (OVL) via the Zoom platform.
Counselling in the 21st century
I believe it is essential that counselling include cyberspace as a working element. Without this acknowledgement we miss a large part of what now influences most of our clients’ lives.
The digital revolution has brought with it many brilliant advances in communication and easy access to knowledge. The catalysing nature of the COVID 19 restrictions forced our profession to seriously implement digital counselling delivery and this has revealed some surprising paradigm shifts. Many clients experience increased agency due to feeling safer in their own familiar environment and the influence of the Online disinhibition effect (ODE). Who would have thought that working in video link could not only be more therapeutically effective for many clients, but also that we in the helping professions may have unconsciously reduced our client’s agency by working with them in our consulting rooms! Many agencies are reporting that they are now engaging with clients online who have been very difficult to create relationship with in the past. So the inclusivity of a client centered approach can be further enabled by technology.
The digital space is different, rather than second rate, to working with a client in person and has both benefits and challenges. Therapists need to ethically and practically assess client suitability for counselling online and set up contracting for client safety, as well as have a proficiency in using the technology and it’s many functions.
Online life is here to stay and a big part of everyday life.
We need to support our young clients in navigating this new horizon with awareness, resilience and confidence: knowing when to unplug and when to plug-in. Distinguishing between in real/physical life and online activity. Online anonymity provides an open canvas for experimenting with behaviours and personas, this is often helpful to developing personalities, but the internet is not a guide to life and boundaries can be mercurial in Cyberspace.
Some disowned or disallowed parts of personality, which contribute to our sense of self, can often be more safely expressed in the digital space and are a rich resource for building a stronger sense of who we are and where we fit in the world. Bridging the resources that can be accessed online with our real or in-person life in the physical world, and vice versa, is an exciting new area for all clients to explore.
After all the listening I do, I take great pleasure in getting back into balance by writing and delivering interactive workshops designed for professionals, schools and the general public. I authored and currently facilitate How to provide counselling and psychotherapy using online technologies for PACFA as continuing professional development for therapists.
In line with my views above concerning our growing life in cyberspace, I am delighted to announce a new series of ONLINE professional development masterclasses called The Well Grounded Counsellor, with the first theme entitled Bringing Cyberspace into the Therapeutic Space.
Read an article by Fiona: Counselling – Recognising our profession in its own right
* PACFA – Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia