Our journey begins as first session. Based on the initial information I receive from my clients, I send my reflections and my questions at the outset of our therapeutic work.
In online therapy, I do not prescribe medicines, or advise any stress relief exercises
I feel that my clients are mature, educated and intelligent enough to think for themselves and understand what they need to do. Most of my clients can analyze their behavior, try lots of remedies, share their suffering with other people, read about picking on internet, know certain basic things about picking and, about stress management. Some also know the key issues responsible for their picking.
What do I do then?
I reflect like a mirror and a sounding board. Whatever feelings and imagery I get while reading clients' answers, I try to verbalize and write it to them. I welcome their feedback/reactions. I try to understand my clients as a whole person. I do not look at them as specific parts of their bodies. Picking is one highlighted aspect of them. As I understand, picking is like road signals trying to alert client about something that is not seen by him/her in an obvious way. I do not work "on" client but "with" client. I help my client to help herself. I encourage my clients to take an initiative to understand their own mind.
How do I feel about the therapeutic journey with my client?
I feel that its like walking side by side in a dark unknown tunnel with a hope to see light at the other end. Is this journey always smooth? No! Working "online" with skin picking clients is a challenging task. I need to work with multiple defenses they unconsciously present as a natural protection of their self-image. Here are some of the examples of how clients present themselves in therapy -
- Some clients become very excited and enthusiastic and highly motivated. They express themselves in apt words and look forward to do the work. They tend to use poetic language and become friendly. They use lot of colors, and are eager to have my telephone number.
- Some clients are very polite and sweet. They use formal and decent language. They describe good aspect of themselves and appreciate my work profusely. They appear as if "All is well with them and their cup is full".
- Some clients panic. They do not expect deep kind of work. They get disappointed by the obvious challenge of total disclosure.
- Infrequently some clients give their guarded responses. They do not feel sure whether they should be disclosing personal information to an unknown unseen person,online. They are worried about the privacy of their family members. I do not ask my clients to disclose names of their family members, their cities/towns, their companies/institutes/organizations they work at. My focus is to help them understand variety of emotions they feel about their close ones and certain significant persons in their lives, who make a deep emotional impact on their mind.
- Few persons feel that they have already lost lot of time in finding the real cause of picking and can not waste time now. They respond quickly and expect my answer immediately. They are quick to grasp the essence of my questions and write down their answers in details. They generally have lot of workload and work related problems at home and at office.
- Few clients take things easy. They go to vacations. They plan to have family get together. They do not respond in weeks. I send them Hellos and reminders. I get their sorrys and reasons for delays. I feel that we do not gear up for the serious therapeutic work.
- Very few become too busy to entertain therapy as priority. We unwillingly have to withdraw from work.
Majority of our clients have smooth therapeutic journey. They respond well, write in details and send their replies regularly. They express their true emotions and expectations. They know what they want and make most this opportunity to grow and move on. I am happy and patient enough to work with all sorts of clients. I like the challenges and never leave my client in halfway unless she stops walking with me.