Adding Cybercounselling to your Skill Set
By Sandra Lim, CPRW, CCM, CECC, Cert. Cybercounseling
In this day and age, just about everything we want can be accessed on-demand through the Internet. Not surprisingly, with employees’ lives growing progressively more hectic – with longer hours spent at the office, active social lives, gym memberships, and possibly childcare and eldercare responsibilities –more and more people are seeking career services from their home computer.
It’s not only busy individuals that are attracted to the convenience of receiving service in the comfort and privacy of their homes. Cybercounselling clients generally prefer the Internet and email as their principal means of communication, and thus feel more comfortable expressing themselves through the keyboard. This includes introverts and the new generation that has grown up in a high-tech world. Cybercounselling is also a beneficial alternative delivery mode for individuals with a disability, such as the hearing-impaired or housebound; those for whom meeting in person is impossible due to distance; and those living in geographically isolated areas.
Some may also prefer the anonymity of online communication and the assurance of confidentiality, such as those in the shock stage after job loss. Studies have shown that, due to the feeling of anonymity, internet research subjects were actually likely to let down their walls much more quickly than face-to-face subjects. In-person subjects often did not show their true vulnerabilities until the third or fourth session1.
If you are ready to add cybercounselling to your skill set, remember that proper training is key. Although the following list is by no means exhaustive, it contains descriptions and links to cybercounselling / online career coaching certification programs appropriately, these training programs are delivered via the Internet.
Certificate Program in Cybercounselling
Therapy Online / University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work
This certificate program provides three levels of certification: Level 1 Certification is earned upon completion of the “Cybercounselling – Level 1” course, and Level 2 Certification upon completion of the “Cybercounselling – Level 2” course. The Cybercounselling Level 3 course is still under development. Certificates are issued jointly by Therapy Online and the University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work.
In Cybercounselling – Level 1, participants learn about the application of technology, ethics, theory, and online counselling skills. Cybercounselling – Level 2 builds upon those skills, emphasizing the practical application of cybercounselling, with the goal of improving online counselling skills and professionalism.
Each course is highly interactive and personal, with a low student / teacher ratio. Online group and partnering exercises are used to practise online communication skills. Learning takes place through assigned readings, online role-plays, forum discussions, weekly assignments, and supervision.
A cybercounselling course participant provided the following testimonial:
“The cybercourse gave us hands on experience over a long period of time. We were able to use the tool and experience all the program had to offer. This was very helpful.”
Course descriptions for levels 1 and 2 can be found at: www.therapyonline.ca/cybercounselling/default.htm.
ECareer Coach Certificate
Knowplace / Capilano College
The ECareer Coach Certificate Program is delivered through The Capilano College / Knowplace Partnership. Knowplace is the private half of the private-public partnership with Capilano College’ s Continuing Education Division. This program provides participants with the skills to work with virtual clients. Online communication tools, effective online communication techniques, and the role of the online career coach are addressed through the six required courses, two electives, plus an applied project that must be completed to earn the certificate. For the independent applied project, the participant is expected to coach ten separate clients online, with a mentor available for support.
A recent ECareer Coach Certificate graduate provided the following feedback:
“I just want to give you on update on how I am applying what I learned in Knowplace… I am hosting my first online job finding club text chat next week. Thanks again for all the support and encouragement.”
To learn more: www.capcollege.bc.ca/continuinged/online/ecareers-coach.html
Certified Electronic Career Coach (CECC)
Career Directors International (CDI) formerly Professional Résumé Writing and Research Association
The Certified Electronic Career Coach Program provides career professionals with the opportunity to master skills for coaching clients in online job searching, résumé writing, interview preparation, and concludes with a final web portfolio development project. The 14-week course is delivered completely online using assigned readings, forum discussions, online role-plays, and weekly assignments.
CDI membership is a prerequisite for registration. To learn more: www.careerdirectors.com/cert_cecc.htm
These programs cover best practices in building strong working relationships with online clients, overcoming the lack of visual cues such as body posture and facial expressions, discussing ethical and legal issues, and teaching the latest technology and tools. This is just a taste of the knowledge that awaits you as you embark on your journey to becoming a trained cybercounsellor.
1(J.W. Bloom, Personal Communication, September 12, 1997)
Sandra Lim, CPRW, CECC, CWPP is President of A Better Impression, and provides online résumé and career counselling services. She is a Level 2 Certified Cybercounsellor through the Therapy Online / University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work, and a Certified Electronic Career Coach. Sandra can be reached at email@example.com.
Copyright 2006. A Better Impression. All Rights Reserved.
Published in the Spring 2006 edition of the Contact Point Bulletin.
and reprinted with permission May 2006 by Career Professionals of Canada.