Counseling Via Video: 3 advantages and 1 downside

Dr. Lucy Ann MollFor Those Giving Help, For Those Seeking Hope5 Comments

When a hurting person meets with a biblical counselor via video, the world opens.

Counselees living in Topeka or Timbuktu, and every place in between, can receive the benefits of counseling by the Word and in the power of the Spirit, wherever they are. In fact, all that’s needed to “deliver” biblical counseling is the internet. And some 4.5 billion have internet access worldwide.

If you’ve used Facetime or video conferencing, you’ll understand the concept of video counseling. It’s talking with someone through a device while also seeing them. Today’s technology makes this possible and even commonplace.

Advantage #1: Easy access

Meeting by video allows easy access to biblical counseling. Counselees need only a smartphone, tablet, or a computer and the internet. Most counselees use the Internet at their home for counseling; some drive to a nearby McDonalds or Starbucks (which typically offer free Internet) and have their counseling appointment in the privacy of their car.

Due to easy access, I’ve had the privilege to meet with counselees in my town and across the globe since 2008 when I began this type of counseling.

Here are a handful of the women I’ve counseled via video:

  • Kari*, a pastor’s wife and mom on the East Coast.
  • Jackie, a retiree in the UK.
  • Anna, a working, married mom of two children in Germany.
  • Susie, a stay-at-home mom of two preschoolers near Los Angeles.
  • Beth, a single, soon-to-be missionary in NYC.
  • Liz, an unmarried career woman in Australia.

They each desired biblical counseling to look at the heart’s primary question: Whom will you trust? God or self? And their goal was the same; that is, lasting change.

Advantage #2: Convenience

When I mentioned that I’ve counseled folks who lived in my town near my office, perhaps you wondered why. There are at least four reasons, and all revolve around convenience.

  1. Horrible weather. (Think snow and sleet.)
  2. Infants and preschoolers at home.
  3. Car trouble.
  4. Disability, physical and/or emotional (such as severe fear of leaving home).

But the fifth type of convenience is equally important: meeting with a biblical counselor when the nearest one is a great distance away.

Kari, a pastor’s wife, desired biblical counseling for a life-dominating sin. (She too is ACBC-certified like me and the counselors at Biblical Counseling Center.) However, she’d have to travel to another state to get it. Plus, after working all day, she wanted to go home and hug her young daughter and husband, and then have her counseling appointment.

Advantage #3: Biblical counseling anywhere!

Biblical counseling connects people to the gospel and to the wisdom of the Word, and it provides compassion and effective care as well as practical solutions to life’s struggles. With video counseling, it may be as close as your pocket, literally.

Using video on your phone or other device means you can receive counseling wherever you are. Many apps help make this possible; a few are Skype, Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, and FreeConferenceCall. Biblical Counseling Center’s counselors are now using SimplePractice, an app that lets you meet with your biblical counselor in a private virtual room. To begin the appointment, you simply click a link at your appointment time.

A couple of years ago, a teacher at an English-speaking school in Tunisia sought me for counseling for her anxiety. She liked talking with someone back home. We had a crystal-clear connection almost always. She said that if she hadn’t found a biblical counselor like me who offered counseling via video, she’d have missed out. Biblical counseling helped her intentionally and consistently apply God’s Word to her struggle and overcome it. She praised God for this new way of connecting.

Downside: But what if a call drops?

Truth be told, a downside of counseling via video is the occasional dropped call. For this possibility, my counselees and I have a plan in place, including who calls whom. And almost always we’re picking up where we left off within a minute or two.

For all the advantages of video counseling, including easy access and convenience, I am anticipating an expansion of it. In fact, I still have one continent left to deliver biblical counseling: Antarctica! If you know someone in need of counseling near the South Pole, send me a text.

*Identifying information has been altered for this article.

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