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Should you become an online counsellor?

By Ben Madden

Looking to move into a career in counselling, or want to change track from working as a counsellor in-person to working online? With the pandemic continuing to affect society’s mental health, online counselling is a valuable resource for those looking to speak with a professional about their lives. 

However, before you dive into the world of online counselling, you need to have the proper skills and equipment.

How can I learn to counsel online?

1. Get your skills up-to-scratch

If you’re looking to counsel online – whether it’s a new career, or you’re trying to move online after practicing in-person – then it’s a great time to complete some more study. Our CHC51015 - Diploma of Counselling is a great way to learn practical skills to get you job-ready, as well as providing you with a wider skill-set that will be beneficial for counselling.

2. Get the necessary technology.

older woman using laptop and taking notes

There are many ways to provide online counselling, including telephone-based counselling, email-based counselling, chat-based counselling and video-based counselling. It’s important to work out which form/s best suit your counselling style, and purchasing the necessary technology (for example, if you’re providing video-based counselling, selecting a secure video calling service and a quality webcam). 

3. Establish your niche. 

If you’re looking to set yourself apart from your counterparts, then establishing a niche can be very beneficial, as well as help you with marketing yourself. Whether you want to play a part in solving a particular type of trauma/s, or you want to work with a particular section of society (eg. children), then choosing a niche is a great way to ensure you’re focusing your efforts. 

4. Get to work!

Now’s where you start promoting yourself and your counselling services, whether it be on social media, through past clients or in any other methods you think might work. Establishing a client base early on is important, and creating content around counselling and its benefits is a great way to get people interested in your services. 

The pros of online counselling

1. Affordability.

If you’re a counsellor that wants to keep your services as affordable as possible, then online counselling is a great way to do this! Because you won’t have to rent a space for your clients to come visit, then you don’t have to charge as much – which is a win-win for everyone.

2. Accessibility. 

online counselling concept

For many people looking to access counselling, they may struggle due to living rurally/remotely, or not being able to shift their work around to fit the hours where counsellors are usually available. Remote counselling means these people don’t have to travel to you – so you’ll be able to work with a larger range of clients.

3. Anonymity. 

If you’re looking to make a difference, online counselling is a great way to speak to clients that might not otherwise feel comfortable using a counsellor. If your counselling is non-visual, clients can remain anonymous, allowing them to be more honest than they might otherwise be able to due to past experiences/anxiety.

The cons of online counselling

1. Technological limitations. 

Online counselling relies on everyone having the ability to use technology, as well as relatively new technology available. If either your technology, or your client’s technology, isn’t up-to-scratch, then there may be issues when you’re completing sessions.

2. Miscommunication. 

Ever been on a Zoom call where it lags, and therefore you miss things? Trying to communicate with people over video or audio call (or even through text-based counselling) can lead to either you or your client misinterpreting what each other is talking about, which may lead to unexpected issues.

3. Security risks. 

Privacy is the utmost concern for anyone accessing counselling, but security risks are an inevitability when it comes to technology. As people will most likely be revealing personal information to you through their counselling sessions, it’s important to ensure your computer is as secure as possible.

What are the benefits of working as an online counsellor?

1. Choose your own hours. 

Want to work your own hours, so you can improve your work-life balance? Being an online counsellor means you can select how much (or how little!) you want to work, so you’re the one in control of your work schedule. 

2. No travel time. 

Travelling to and from an office can be a drain for many people, especially if it’s far away. Being able to work from home and provide counselling means you’ll be in a space you find comforting and familiar, meaning you’re able to provide meaningful advice to your clients without the stress of having to travel!

3. Work with a wider range of clients. 

When your clients aren’t restricted by location, then you’re able to work with a wider variety of clients. If you’re someone that wants to help as many people as possible, then this is an ideal situation for you.

4. Be more productive. 

Working online means you’re not waiting for people to arrive for their counselling sessions, allowing you to keep a stricter schedule. Assuming people log on at the time they’re meant to for each session, you’re able to schedule more sessions within the same timeframe, as you’re not needing to allow space for travel time, traffic jams and other real-life mishaps that can happen.

Ready to take the next step on your counselling journey? 

Upskilled’s range of nationally recognised qualifications can help give you the boost you need to move your counselling services online. Find out more by visiting our website here, or get in touch with our education consultants on 1300 009 924 to discuss how you can make your move towards becoming an online counsellor!
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*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.