Email Conservative Counseling- Why it may be (or may not be) for You

Email conservative counseling may be a great fit for you and your issues. But it may not be, so take a minute to read below to find out some of the benefits and issues of email counseling and also some tips to evaluate if it will work for you.

Truth and Grace Counseling was formed as a way to connect with clients who share my own morals and beliefs. If you are reading this more than likely you are conservative and Christian. If not that is fine as well!

Along with sharing my values in my practice I also want to continue to innovate and bring value to my clients. This is why I am really excited to share more about email counseling and why this may be (or may not be) for you.

Email conservative counseling

What is Email conservative counseling?

It is important to define what I mean by email counseling. This is a pretty new version of therapy so there is not one accepted definition. Here is how I present email therapy to my clients. Email counseling is an asynchronous (not in real time) form of therapy where the client presents their concerns via a HIPAA compliant portal system and the therapist answers back via the same portal.

These emails can be as long or as short as the client would like. You are even welcome to send multiple emails if you so wish. There is no set time you can send these emails. It can even be at 2am! (although I will not respond at 2am). I as the therapist agree to respond back to these emails within one business day.

These responses more than likely will be long form to help address the concerns the client brings and to help the client process their issues. The therapist may include videos, articles, homework assignments to help challenge the client as well. There is a lot of room for creativity on both the client and therapist’s part here for how the course of email counseling looks. At Truth and Grace Counseling I offer a weekly and monthly rate for email counseling. This is the best “bang for your buck” deal I offer and can be combined with any other video sessions you wish to have as well.

If you’re struggling but not sure if therapy is for you, email conservative counseling may be a great way to begin.

I don’t care who you are, you face many struggles in life. Whether you have lost a loved one, struggling with homeschooling, dealing with burnout as a pastor or are just depressed watching the news chances are you are dealing with some tough stuff. It’s important to have a strong network of peers and loved ones around you to help you through these difficulties. Sometimes you may not have this support.

Often you may have a great support system but you might feel the need to talk to an unbiased 3rd party to help you process through whatever difficulty you are going through. At this point this is where counseling can be very helpful.

Most of you reading probably think of counseling in its traditional sense of sitting with a therapist (or lying down on a couch if you watch movies) and processing through your issues for an hour. Don’t get me wrong, this can be a very effective method! I will talk more of this later. In my experience with online counseling the screen between us lowers the defenses a bit. It makes it easier for clients to open up.

However, maybe even the idea of speaking through a phone or computer with a therapist is too much. This is where email counseling can be great. You have a great deal of anonymity this way. Many times it is easier to get started in therapy if all you have to do is send a message instead of talking in person.

You might be unsure if therapy is something you want to engage in. Email counseling is a relatively inexpensive way to test the waters and see if counseling is a good fit for you. And again, you get a lot of content for this test!

Email conservative counseling

Email conservative counseling allows you to ask multiple questions in a session, not being limited by time.

Did you ever have a pen pal growing up? I am not sure if this is still practiced much today but if you have ever had a pen pal before you understand the benefit of long form communication.

With a pen pal you can write as much as you would like and the response you receive can help answer any of the questions you asked. You probably know a whole lot about your pen pals interests, family, relationships etc. due to the letters you sent and received.

Email counseling works the same way. You might have a TON to get off your chest. When I see clients often it is hard for them to organize their thoughts efficiently during the first session. This is totally normal because there is usually so much to talk about! In email counseling you are not inhibited by this. You are free to ask as many questions as you would like to!

You are not bound by time limitations on this. I encourage clients to take their time when writing out these emails. Even better yet if you think of another question after you sent an email then just send another one!

Email counseling is an excellent option if you have a ton of questions that you want your counselor to answer.  Relax! And email as much (or as little) as you would like!

Email conservative counseling allows your therapist to think about and give a thoughtful response

This section really hits home. I do my best to make it a habit when I’m in session to take my time with my responses. When I was in an earlier stage in my career I felt a pressure to feel the awkward silence with a quick answer. I’m more seasoned now and realize a quick answer isn’t always a good one. There are many times though when I simply don’t know the answer to the question in the moment. I do my best to notate this and address it with the client in the next meeting.

However, in email counseling I am afforded time to make a well lined out explanation to different questions you might have. Better yet, I can link you to articles, blog posts, videos, books etc. that might be helpful for you. In email counseling you are getting an answer from me that is truly well thought out.

Email conservative counseling is wonderful for busy bee’s

Tell me if this is ever you, “I just don’t have enough time to do this!” If you’re busy with work, homeschooling your kids or shepherding your flock you may be truly busy. I get it. Life is hard and you have time requirements everywhere. This is where email counseling can really come in handy.

You can send your emails in between changing dirty diapers, during your lunch break, before bed or whenever you desire!  While you “busy bees” may legitimately not have a lot of time to set aside a dedicated hour to therapy, I find it unlikely that you don’t have enough time to send an email.  These emails don’t have to be sent (or read) in one setting. 

Here’s a little secret, I rarely if ever fully respond to long form emails in one setting.  I enjoy taking my time to brainstorm, research, write, edit, etc.  Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to just ALL CAPS TYPE SO YOU CAN SHOW YOUR EMOTION!!!! That is just fine!  However, know that there are no time limits to when you send these emails or how many drafts you write to send it.  This is absolutely perfect for the inner “busy bee” within you. 

Email counseling isn’t for someone who needs or wants more personalized care

Now onto the negatives. As much as I love the idea of email counseling this form is not for everyone. Much of this depends on your personality and situation. Let’s use a fictional example of a client named Ana who recently lost her mom. Ana was really close to her mom and is really struggling coping with her loss. Ana decides she wants to reach out to a Christian counselor to help her with this.

Ana really feels the need for human connection during this time. She wants someone to see her express her emotions, her tears, her pain. She wants her counselor to express sympathy and concern to her. She wants to see and physically hear her counselor guide her through this time.

For Ana, email counseling is probably not the best outlet for her. She could greatly benefit from individual counseling. Preferably in person! Although I don’t offer in person counseling I want to help connect you with the best counselor for you!

Email conservative counseling isn’t ideal if you are struggling with severe mental illness.

Another situation when email counseling isn’t appropriate is if someone is suffering from significant mental illness. If someone for instance is suicidal, schizophrenic, or has extreme depression/anxiety then this isn’t a good format. Again, I would refer someone in these situations to an in person therapist or program. If anyone is actively suicidal then we need to get you help immediately!

Email counseling by nature is not immediate. I evaluate all clients before and during email counseling to see if this is in your best interest. Email counseling is best for someone that is in a relatively healthy mental state but struggling with a current issue. I will refer you to another great clinician if we are not a good fit!

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to mental health care

I hope after reading this you have a better idea if email counseling is a good fit for you or not. Everyone’s situation is different. Some may absolutely love email counseling! Some may do email counseling and traditional counseling, great! Some may only do traditional counseling, great! Again, my goal is for you to get great care whether that is through online counseling, email counseling or in person counseling.

If email counseling sounds great to you then sign up for a free consultation! I’ll talk through with you about how this will work in your individual case to see if we will be a good fit or not. I look forward to hearing from you!