My watch list  

Telephone counseling

Telephone counseling is a type of psychological first aid where a person communicates with the counselor via the telephone. Organizations providing this service may serve different purposes and employ different aids and interventions in serving their callers.

Telephone counseling may be conducted independently of other therapeutic interactions. Many callers seeking telephone counseling do not have an active relationship with a counselor and use telephone counseling as a substitute for therapy. Some therapists provide their clients with the number of a crisis hotline to provide the client with an avenue to obtain support outside of therapy if they cannot be reached in an emergency or at the conclusion of a therapeutic relationship.

Not all telephone counseling is necessarily for personal therapy; in fact most other uses may be the main or secondary purposes: research, sharing, messages, gossip, friendliness, news or business.[citation needed]

Advantages and disadvantages over in-person therapy

Unlike other forms of counseling, telephone counseling is potentially free of certain constraining factors that affect traditional therapy, including geography, time, duration, and cost. It provides a degree of anonymity that is comforting to some callers and thus encourages disclosure.

Because the client often calls from a location that is part of their day-to-day life, calls often center around, or are interrupted by, situational pressures that the person is currently immersed in. This can have both positive and negative effects on the counseling provided; by allowing the counselor some insight into the person's situation, the counselor can be more objective. Conversely, the disruptions and pressures of situational factors may make it difficult for the client to adopt a reflective state or maintain full focus on the counseling session.

Because telephone counseling is usually provided by organizations staffed by a number of employees or volunteers, a repeat caller cannot develop a relationship with a counselor in the same way as in traditional therapy. Calls are usually limited in time and frequency, preventing deeper analysis and thus the use of therapeutic modalities that depend on it (i.e. psychoanalysis).

Unlike traditional counseling, either party may not have nor need guaranteed privacy; the electronic technologies involved make it difficult to prevent multiple phone connections, loudspeakers, or recording of the interactions. This fact may present a problem to a paranoid personality who suspects that others are monitoring his or her calls.

The academic research into telephone counseling, as it is currently practiced around the world, has yet to be done.[citation needed]

This article lacks references and clarity. There is a very clear divide between phone counselling and what is known as a 'listening ear' service. This article switches freely between these two distinctly different interventions.

Examples of telephone counseling services

New Zealand has a community-based, youth-oriented Telephone counseling service, Youthline. Based in 11 local centers around the country, Youthline enlists 1100 volunteers nationwide (100 of whom are working in an online context).

Australia has a national (government-subsidized by the government-dominated telephone carrier) Telephone counseling service, Lifeline. In the larger cities in Australia, there may also be smaller Telephone counseling services, specialized in for example: domestic violence, war-victims, youth, gambling, finances, substance abuse, parenting or child care.

The United States has a government-funded suicide prevention hotline called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides 24/7 crisis intervention counseling to suicidal callers. It involves thousands of volunteers at over 120 crisis centers nationwide.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Telephone_counseling". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE