For Amelia, Wellin5 online counselling is about staying in touch with the core of her work: people.
Mental health has become a huge topic in our culture. Especially this year where we’ve all had to learn the importance of human connection and spending time alone. Many are now looking to try online counselling to support their mental health journey.
So, where to begin? With in-person counselling unavailable right now, there’s been a huge rise in the demand for personalized online therapy.
Platforms like Wellin5 help connect you to an online therapist that meets your specific needs. One counsellor who is making a difference at Wellin5 is Amelia Larson, MSW, RSW. We sat down with Amelia (virtually, of course) to hear more about her background, and her experience supporting clients online.
Amelia was raised in Niagara, Ontario. After high school, she attended the University of Guelph to complete her undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Relations. But she didn’t stay in her hometown for very long. Throughout her degree, Amelia was exposed to countless learning opportunities all over the globe.
“I was fortunate to have had opportunities to explore. All throughout my life I knew I liked people. It never seemed like I chose it. It was just the obvious path for me.”
To name just a few, she flew to Mississippi to volunteer relief aid after Hurricane Katrina. She worked in group homes with at-risk and homeless youth. She went to Ireland to support families of children with serious illnesses. Looking back on her experiences, it’s no surprise that Amelia’s career path led her to work closely with people.
“I recognized the importance of holding space for people in their darkest, hardest moments. I wanted to help them see those moments as opportunities to find a happier and healthier version of themselves. That’s what makes all the difference.”
The Beginning of a counselling career
Amelia went back to school to do her Master’s degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. During that time, an internship with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) led her to Longido, Tanzania. In Tanzania, she worked in community development surrounding HIV/ Aids and Girl Mothers. While she’d had such vast experiences before this moment, the internship cemented the importance of cultural context and recognizing biases.
“I was able to experience a lot of different people, from different backgrounds, with different challenges. All those experiences have culminated into who I am. They’ve allowed me to see how healing, trauma, and therapy need to look different based on the client’s cultural context.”
All humans have similar core needs, but our cultural context leads to noteworthy nuances in those needs. What may work for one person may not work for another. It’s important to remember that counsellors are people too. It may take a few tries before you find one you connect with.
The Wellin5 experience
Amelia first heard about Wellin5 online counselling through a classmate in a continued-learning course. Ironically, she was learning about Cyber Counselling: how to use the internet to engage people. She brought those skills to Wellin5 where she’s been supporting clients for over two years.
In her full-time job, she works as a Clinical Director in a social service agency. For Amelia, Wellin5 is about staying in touch with the core of her work: people.
“I love working in leadership and being exposed to high-level opportunities. But we need to be in touch with the people that we’re working for. You can’t make high-level decisions without having that interaction.”
The shift to e-therapy
Maintaining a humanistic connection
The accessibility of online counselling has allowed more people to start their journey. But can we maintain a humanistic connection while counselling through a screen?
“Working with clients through the internet can have a learning curve. However, if we truly want to support in a client-directed way, it requires a different level of engagement and a willingness to be flexible on our part. I love that we can support clients where they feel most comfortable.”
With face to face no longer a possibility, online counsellors have adapted in the way they approach sessions. They must maintain connection without sharing the physical space.
Amelia shared her insights:
“When someone is visiting your physical office, they see pieces of you everywhere. They see how you’ve decorated, what you’ve put on the walls, the patterns you choose to use. They see cues as to who you are as a human. When they can’t see that space in person, it’s about connecting with small anecdotes of your life.”
Finding moments to be real
By sharing small snippets of who they are, counsellors are able to connect with their clients on a deeper level. It may not seem important to chat about the fact that your video background has changed, or that the weather in your city has been all over the place. However, these moments of connection help clients feel less isolated. It’s true, counselling helps with the big things, like getting on the right track. But it’s also about those bite-sized moments of human connection. In the long run, those small moments can be really big. Your counsellor will value it as much as you do.
“Clients will appreciate that you’re a real person. Find moments to be human. Be real. Be expressive. It’s about finding ways to be in the room when you’re not physically in the room.”
Online therapy is available anytime, anywhere
Amelia is just one member of the highly-qualified counselling team on the Wellin5 platform. With their experience and passion for client growth, they’re revolutionizing online counselling. To speak to a counsellor like Amelia, sign up with Wellin5 today.
Author: Sarina Arefzadeh
Sarina Arefzadeh is a Vancouver-based content marketer, mental health advocate, and pop culture enthusiast. She brings her education in psychology and sociology to unpack topics like tech, gender, mental health, and online life. She’s a speaker with Jack.org, regularly visiting schools to talk to students about their mental health, what it means, and how they can be there for themselves and their peers. Connect with Sarina on LinkedIn, Twitter, or by email.