Practical Suggestions For Working With a Counselor Or Coach

1- Never send (what you consider to be) confidential information to your counselor/coach through regular email, since regular email is, generally, NOT guaranteed to be secure. If you need to send confidential information, use an email system that is specifically designed to be secure, or use encryption software on your document (and send the key separately by a different secure method), or use regular mail/phone/fax.

2- Your counselor/coach can only know what he/she hears from you. If you are acting, then don’t expect good results for yourself, just for your “character”!

3- Many people can achieve great transformations through self-help, but recognize if/when you may have reached a dead-end and may need help from friends/family or professionals.

4- Do’s for Online Counseling/Coaching

* Do know your true goals or reasons for accessing e-help before starting an online counseling or coaching session.
* Do be on time for your “live” (chat) session. The counselor/coach has reserved the time for you. Be sure to specify the timezones carefully as your counselor/coach may not be in the same timezone as you!
* Do find a quiet and secluded area (free of extraneous noise) to use as a place to concentrate on your chat or e-session so that you don’t get interrupted or distracted.
* Do be prepared to commit the time to your e-counseling/coaching, including both online time and homework time.
* Do familiarize yourself with the limits and benefits of online counseling and coaching before you register for a session.
* Do know the rules of good netiquette, especially as it relates to email. Also, see #1 above.
* Do develop good online habits if you are using online services, such as checking your email at least once a day, more often if you are replying or making a request of your e-counselor or coach.
* Do plan on using or developing good time-management skills to enable you to balance your e-sessions with your other responsibilities and obligations.
* Do respect the rules of online honesty and integrity. See #2 above.
* Do take breaks from being online too long; give your eyes and mind a chance to rest.
* Do remember that email is your primary form of communication, therefore you must be clear and detailed with the information you are sending. However, see #1 above; use secure email if at all possible.
* Do assume your share of the responsibility for the success of your on-line coaching/counseling.

5- Don’ts for Online Counseling

* Don’t focus on grammar and spelling errors in your e-session but, rather, focus on the content and the essence of what has been written.
* Don’t be intimidated by the psych lingo but, instead ask your online counselor/coach for clarification in plain English.
* Don’t think you can be anonymous in on-line counseling/coaching; in fact, do expect more interaction, and better results, the more you reveal about your inner desires.
* Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are having problems using the site’s technology or secure chat line.
* Don’t take online counseling/coaching lightly because it can be just as effective as traditional counseling/coaching in most instances.
* Don’t expect to be a passive client; you must be self-directed and self-motivated to succeed.
* Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination may be the one deadly sin of online counseling. If you agree to certain tasks or deadlines, stay on top of your your assignments.

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