Considering becoming an internet counselor? This is something that a growing number of people in the counseling profession have explored. Most explore it briefly, as a curiosity. Others, find themselves intent on making the change from traditional counselor to internet counselor.
So how does one become a respected and sought out internet counselor? First it is important that you are qualified to be conducting counseling sessions. This article assumes that if you are reading this you either are already qualified or intend on becoming qualified.
The next step grows out of the question “Why would someone see you as an internet counselor rather than someone in person who is nearby?”. Of course there are going to be a certain number of people who seek out internet counseling because they simply do not want to, or cannot, go to a physical office. However, what about the others who would see someone locally if there was a counselor that could help them. The key here is filling a very specific area of counseling needs that not all counselors can readily. That is right, pick a very narrow area for treatment. In doing this you open your potential clientele to people who need something specific. This is like selling a sugar free, diary free, nut free frozen desert that is tasty online versus selling ice cream locally. There will be people who cannot eat regular ice cream and you are the only one who can meet their desert needs.
After choosing your specific area, and becoming competent, you must establish yourself as an expert in that area. One way to do this is to engage in forums, blogs, and other means of getting your name out there as a counselor who knows a great deal about whatever it is you have become an expert. This is important so that you can have a solid referral base. The harder and longer you work on this step the greater number of clients you will have seek you out as their internet counselor. This can prove invaluable.
Finally you must familiarize yourself with whatever tools you will need to become an internet counselor. You need to learn about what mediums work best (e.g., skype, which chat programs), billing and payment options (ins and outs of paypal, etc.), and how to make sure whatever mode of internet counseling you utilize (e.g, email, chat, video) is secure. Having a breech in security would be one quick way to destroy a business you create. So, get some books, search the web, talk to people with this sort of knowledge. Do the homework!
As with any life endeavor, the process of becoming a successful internet counselor will take a great deal of effort and time. Building your expertise, referral base, and technological knowledge will not happen overnight. However, if you engage in these areas carefully and methodically you will find yourself on the way to a bright future as a competitive internet counselor.
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