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Crisis Intervention - Counseling via Telephone and Online

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Public Safety Today

Public Safety Today


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In this episode we take a look at some alternative methods of providing counseling. The majority of crisis counseling is now being handled by telephone. The ease with which people can communicate, the ability to have face-to-face conversations via Wi-fi connections, the need to save fuel costs, the fact many clients have had their driver's licenses revoked, and the need to improve efficiency and marketability all point to an increase in progressive counseling methods. Too often, the person on the other end of the telephone is a volunteer. They have not completed a degree in social work, counseling, or psychology. They mean well but they could generate additional problems for the client. They may have been given a script to follow but we know tone, inflection, and spontaneity are all important feedback mechanisms a skilled practitioner optimizes which these volunteers would probably not.

As we improve our communications capabilities, the Internet will play a larger part in real-time counseling. It is anyone's guess, though, if the service provider on the other end of the line will be a credentialed professional, a well-meaning volunteer with little or no training, or a crook out to steal your identity. In the future it seems possible there will be computers programmed to interpret input from clients, analyze their voice patterns, and provide feedback even more appropriately than a human could do.

This episode mainly focuses on the use of telephones in both counseling and crisis counseling. Online crisis counseling has arrived and there is every reason to believe growth in this industry will progress at a rapid pace.