This interview with Ken Fields is one in a series of interviews with LivePerson's Professional Counselors.
First, tell us a bit about your background and experience in grief counseling. Also share how long you have providing online counseling through LivePerson and a bit about what the experience is been like for you?
I have been a mental health counselor since the early 1980’s. I have been with Liveperson since May of 2006. During the years with Liveperson, I have worked with a number of clients who had lost a partner, in some cases due to death, but in most cases due to a divorce or a break up. I think for consumers, the advantage of anonymity and convenience supports the grieving process. A client often feels more comfortable in crying, in the privacy of their own home, and not being seen even by the therapist. In many cases, the only way I, as the counselor, know that a client is crying is that they tell me.
What is your approach to counseling with those in grief?
First and foremost is, of course, listening. It is important for a client to have the opportunity to talk through their loss. This can help them release some of the pent up emotions and it can also help them objectify and get some distance on, their loss. Of course, healing from loss does not occur in one or two sessions but rather can take months. But, by talking about their loss, and their moods and feelings, thoughts and memories, fears and anxieties, they can move through the loss easier and more completely than if they did not have this avenue of counseling/therapy.
What do you see as some of the benefits of receiving counseling through LivePerson?
The online environment offers a number of advantages. Anonymity is one and it has been my experience, and I believe there have been some studies as well, that anonymity encourages more self disclosure more rapidly. Another advantage is the convenience. The option of having a therapeutic counseling session without having to make an appointment somewhere miles away, drive there, often during work hours, park, have a session, drive back to work….that can all take several hours. With Liveperson, it’s a matter of logging on and either seeing who is available, of which there are many, or connecting with your counselor at a pre-arranged time for live chat.
What situations might a person find LivePerson counseling less then helpful?
People who are suicidal or who have significant mental illness should be seen in person in their local community. Those who do not like to read and type or who do not do it well would probably not enjoy online counseling. Those who seek a more experiential or body oriented therapy would not find online counseling sufficient to meet their needs. However, those who like to type and read, are interested in the dialogue and education aspect of counseling can gain a great deal through online counseling at Liveperson.
What strengths or special abilities do you offer as a professional counselor?
I have decades of experience in face to face counseling and, now, about 5 years of experience providing online counseling, which includes telephone, live chat and email, at Liveperson. In my own private online counseling, I also provide webcam video counseling. My areas of concentration include Cognitive Behavior Therapy for anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, as well as trauma informed care. I also specialize in communication skills training and family systems therapy.
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