Welcome to Liquic’s new blog dedicated to informing you about quality of life topics and the experts who specialize in them. There are so many new and exciting developments related to quality of life and we hope to guide you through the personal choices you’ll be making and tip you off about areas you didn’t know existed. As always, look to get in touch with quality of life professionals such as therapists, psychologists, coaches, dietitians, and more in our directory for face to face consultations or online consultations.
So, you’re thinking about seeing a therapist or coach online? Why not, right? Maybe you’re short on time, can’t find someone in the area, are attracted to the convenience, or just appreciate the extra personal space. Online may be the place for you. The good news is, it’s easier than you ever dreamed of and found to be just as effective or more effective as face-to-face counseling under certain circumstances. But there are a few things to watch out for as well. I’ll take you through some of the pros and cons of online therapy and see if we can put it all in perspective.
Being the positivity experts we are, let’s start with the cons and end on a high note with the pros. In the cons I’ll be sure to talk about how to prevent or avoid them – the future belongs to the prepared.
- It’s technology. For the most part it’s great but the fact is, the more complex something is, the more prone it is to breaking. All these programs and websites try to be stable but some hiccups and failures can be expected from time to time. Always have a backup plan ready in case things go wrong at the last minute – just like you print out directions to a new location in case your navigation system can’t tell where you are or quickly saying “if my battery runs out, I’ll call you later” at the beginning of a phone conversation.
- Selection. You should want the best therapist or coach you can find. Many of them are simply not online. Take the time to look for a good online professional, but if you don’t find one, simply ask a purely offline professional if he/she is willing to see you online. They will probably need to learn a few new skills, but they may just be up for it.
- Hacking. It’s a part of our online lives, but we hope it will never happen to us. If you like the level of discretion online counselling offers, the downside is that it involves digital information which may be linked to you. It’s out there and can be passed around. Make sure the sites you join show that they take high-level security measures and that the professionals you choose do the same to ensure data related to you is well cared for.
- Communication. There is a certain magic in face to face communication. It’s not just the words you are exchanging, but all kinds of subconscious input is hitting you every second. All those things are muffled in online consultations – and that’s just video, obviously the words are all we have in instant messaging and email. You may need to be slightly more patient when communicatng online. Things may need to be more direct and less subtle when explaining things to the professional or be more prepared to repeat certain things. It’s part of the game.
- Insurance. Or I should say lack thereof. Still many insurance providers deny covering online therapy and counseling. You may be forced to pay for the consultations yourself.
OK, those were the cons. If anyone has anything to add, please let us know. Hopefully you’ve got a better sense of what could go wrong and how to prepare for it or deal with it. Now, on to the fun stuff.
The pros of online therapy and coaching.
- Selection. Yes, this was just a con, but the selection of online professionals should still be close to or more than the ones in your immediate area, especially if you don’t live in a city.
- Communication. (It was just a con, glad you’re paying attention) Yes, you miss non-verbal cues and emotional intonation, but you do get something back for it. Email therapy gives the chance to really gather your thoughts and put your words down clearly and in a more organised fashion than live communication does. This applies to both parties involved. Chat (or instant messaging) let’s you not only share the information in your head but also to take it from off the web. Send links to information, to books, to anything that might add to the conversation.
- Privacy/discretion. Research shows that many clients enjoy the “distance” that online therapy offers. By this, they mean that people are willing to be more open and trusting from a distance than they would be in a face to face meeting with someone.
- Anytime, any place. As long as you have an internet connection and some basic equipment, you can talk to a qualified professional from anywhere and at any time. At the least this certainly adds a degree of flexibility to your life.
- Timing. You don’t hear about this much, but one of the downsides of therapy or coaching is that it’s not there when you really need it. Arguments with your partner, weak moments with food, major issues in your life – they all happen when you’re not on your way to the therapist or coach! There could be weeks between when you need to talk to someone and when you actually get a chance. What email therapy and coaching does, is provide you at least with the opportunity to get it all down when it happens. Something hits you, somethings wrong, and you can go write it down with all the emotion you’re feeling at the moment. Many systems will facilitate you sharing this information with your counselor who can respond back with their advise.
- History. Some online therapy and coaching system let you keep a record of your sessions. This is a great way to look back at progress and lessons learned. This may not be appropriate for serious issues, but if you just feel the need to talk to someone, your healthcare record doesn’t get marred with “psychological issues”.
- No insurance. Also a con, but the upside of this is that you’re out the loop – the whole healthcare system. You have complete control over who you see and no one needs to know about it.
- It’s effective. Saved the best for last. Research shows that online therapy and coaching is just as effective as face to face.
We hope you’re convinced and are ready to check out online therapy and coaching. If you have any comments or questions, please let us know.
Liquic gets to pick the brain of a man who makes it his life’s work to pick brains. Director of Gray Matters International, Dr. Kevin J Fleming has travelled the world coaching and consulting world leaders on improving their thinking and acting. Via the Liquic Live system, you can book your own coaching session one on one with Dr Fleming. Read the full interview here.
Liquic gets to pick the finance-savvy brain of Financial Therapist Melissa Mitchell-Blitch. Once a CPA she noticed the beliefs her clients held about money were the real issue. She went off to study Psychology and now guides others in their financial psychology.
My professional career started as a CPA in the field of wealth management. It was there I first observed that we each have a relationship with money. Our relationship with money impacts not only our financial decisions, but also – and more importantly – all other areas of life, including relations with others, with our work, and our life satisfaction. I was inspired to change careers, to the field of psychology, by a desire to help others live richer, more authentic lives by enhancing their relationships with money.
Tell us about your practice?
Vineyard Counseling, LLC is located in Mt. Pleasant, SC – just across the Cooper River from charming, historic Charleston. I specialize in Financial Therapy.
The symptoms of a less-than-optimal relationship with money are easy to spot, yet insight and action are two different things. Many times we know better, yet struggle to do better.
In a solution-oriented manner, I help clients get to the roots of the symptoms – to address the thoughts, emotions, and relationship factors which drive them.
Since financial stress can lead to depression, anxiety, strained relations, and a host of other issues, the impact of Financial Therapy is quite broad.
Who are your clients?
I counsel women and men, individuals and couples, single and married. I tend to attract clients who are looking for someone to come along side them in the process of growth, healing, and change.
What makes a financial therapist a good financial therapist?
In our culture, money is more taboo than sex. In order to provide Financial Therapy, the professional must have a genuine comfort with the subject matter. The professional must also be able to work non-judgmentally and appreciate the complexities of our relationship with money. Some today would suggest that folks need to “get over” their “hang ups” regarding money or have difficulty empathizing with others of significant financial means. In order to help, the therapist must have genuine empathy for clients’ areas of challenge.
When is it time to go to a financial therapist?
The saying goes “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” And yet most of us seek professional assistance only after warning signs appear.
If you’re experiencing distress regarding financial matters, a financial professional may or may not be the first call to make. I devote a sizeable portion of my time to educating others, both allied professionals and others in the community, on Financial Therapy and how it’s different from but highly complimentary to financial planning. Again this gets back to helping others “do better” once they “know better.”
Since financial issues are a major contributor to marital conflict, I find great satisfaction in working with engaged and newly married couples. More often than not, spouses have different “Money Personalities” (preferences, priorities, risk tolerances) and experiences with money. Financial Therapy can help them recognize these differences, utilize them as a strength, and learn to anticipate and manage times when these personalities clash.
How can someone find a good financial therapist?
Unfortunately, the number of financial therapists is highly limited, but most have websites and many utilize listing services, such as Liquic. Therefore, the one closest to you may be found via a web search on “Financial Therapy.” I am in a network of professionals who offer Financial Therapy, so I would also be happy to assist someone in connecting with a professional in their area.
Why are you a financial therapist?
While working in wealth management, there were times when I wished to refer a client to Financial Therapy, but I could not find anyone is my area, state, or even national region who offered such services. Over the period of a few years, I discerned that this is my calling, and thus began the process of changing careers. More professionals are needed to provide this important, life-changing service.
I provide Financial Therapy because our relationship with money is played out in all areas of life. My desire is to help others lead richer, more authentic lives by enhancing their relationship with money.
If you could say one thing to the world about finances and money what would it be?
Money is not the measure of personal worth or success, nor is it inherently good or evil. Let it be a tool, not a master, and it will serve you well.