The technology of communication on the Internet is a key issue in the context of psychological and sexological online counselling. Online counselling is a professional field where you almost are not able to separate the content of intervention from the tools required, because the same technology utilized to communicate on the Internet is the medium, which delivers the therapeutic message in such a way that without exception it combines these two aspects of the phenomenon.
At the moment, despite the enormous progress, technology still continues to impact the quality of interaction in the online setting.
There may happen technical difficulties in communicably ambiguous situations or the diruptions, which should be considered pretty normal from time to time and even anticipated occasionally when working online.
Sometimes, the clients personify the computer as a third person in the therapeutic interaction, or blame a therapist for any technical limitations, or even they believe it is a deliberate act of the psychologist. Especially novice computer users “newbies” with little experience online, can easily be distracted by technical difficulties, and they may feel that contact with the therapist seems to be elusive and psychologically distant.
In order to minimize the psychological risk of online technology-related stress, many counsellors introduce two different connection options: preferred channel and alternative channel.
Preferred channel is the one that usually client chooses to communicate online, and it is his/her primary medium, when online connection is working properly. It could be email, texting, audio, video connection, Skype, etc.
Alternative channel is considered emergency communication channel, which is used when primary channel is not working. This could be email (if this is not the preferred channel), smart phone, land-line phone or mobile phone.
Professional online therapist always offers the preferred channel and alternative emergency communication channel.