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Face-to-face versus Online working

My fellow counsellors and coaches often ask whether I prefer working face-to-face with clients or online. My answer is always that it depends on the client.

Accessibility and inclusivity are fundamental to my approach. I want all clients to be able to access counselling, coaching and personal consultancy when they need it and that's why I offer online sessions as well as the option of working out of my own office in Hackney Wick and therapy rooms in Haggerston and Buckhurst Hill.

I can make adjustments for individual physical and emotional needs within these physical spaces and tailor them to the person coming to see me, whether it's having wheelchair access, ensuring that the space is soundproofed from startling noises or that lighting is at a comfortable level as well as ensuring access to fresh water and clean bathroom facilities. Comfort in the setting enables us to focus in the session.

By being online some of us are able to have our sessions in the familiar and comfortable setting of home but I recognise that this isn't possible for everyone. Some clients have privacy issues, whether due to sharing spaces with partners and children or because of unwanted intrusion from household sharers. It's so important to feel able to share whatever is needed in a session confidentially. A physical space can offer a sanctuary away from home. Equally online and telephone sessions can enable clients who are geographically distant, who have difficulty accessing transport or who cannot arrange childcare to attend sessions when they would normally have faced a barrier.

So the answer isn't clear cut. I can see the benefits and drawbacks in both approaches. We will all have our opinions about what works best for us and with regard to counselling and coaching my suggestion is try it and see what works for you. I'll look forward to seeing you soon - physically or virtually - whatever feels right!

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