This interview with Robert Ambrose 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 been counseling with folks through LivePerson and a bit about what the experience is been like for you?
I have been a professional counselor in clinical practice for more than thirty five years. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I have helped many individuals cope with the loss of a loved one or friend. Many have felt that they could not move on with their own lives and were overwhelmed with their grief. Through counseling I helped them to continue with joyful memories of the departed while at the same time able to continue their own lives.
I have been working on Liveperson since 2009. Working on Liveperson gives me the unique opportunity to work with people not only across the country but around the world. I have been able to help many who have been unable to get help through face to face counseling because they are unable to leave their homes or they need help more immediately than is possible when one must make an advanced appointment with a therapist. It is very exciting to be a therapist on Liveperson.
What is your approach to counseling with those in grief?
It may seem obvious why someone is in grief but in actuality there are many reasons that one feels grief and that feeling can manifest itself in many ways. Many fear how they will continue to live when they were so dependent upon the person who has died. Many are just lonely and miss the company that they once had. Some wonder why they do not feel more than they do – and then begin to feel guilty about that. When I am working with someone who has experienced loss, I start with that person where that person is in their thoughts, emotions, and feelings. We explore those feelings and look at the source of the feelings. Many require intense support and I provide that. Some want to understand why the loss has occurred and come to grips with their faith around that. There is no one way to approach working with a person who is grieving – the counseling must be focused on the individual and in a way that does not confuse, is not set in deep philosophy, and is real to real life.
What do you see as some of the benefits of receiving counseling through LivePerson?
The greatest benefit of receiving counseling on Liveperson is that one does not have to leave their home to get help. Some are homebound. Some are embarrassed to go to a therapist or a clinic. Many are concerned that if sitting face to face they will not be able to talk about their feelings. Some fear the stigma of anyone finding out that they sought help. Liveperson is the perfect venue for these people to receive the help that they need. There is no face to face contact, the person can remain anonymous, and the person can get help while sitting in their own home, comfortably in front of their computer.
There are other benefits as well. On Liveperson a person who needs help immediately can come on the site and get that help right then and there. They do not have to wait for an appointment. They do not have to hold their feelings in until someone is ready to see them. The therapists are there when they need them.
What situations might a person find LivePerson counseling less then helpful?
If a person has a physical problem that is causing their difficulty that person really needs to be examined by a medical doctor face to face. There are some situations that may present as being psychological but before that can be truly determined the person must rule out any physical illness that may be causing those symptoms to occur. Once it is certain that there is no physical cause then verbal therapy will be effective. Also, medications are not legally able to be prescribed over the Internet and anyone with a psychiatric illness requiring medication must see a psychiatrist or physician face to face for medication to be prescribed. After that the person would benefit from talk therapy on Liveperson. It should be noted that my answers to this question do not apply to a person who is grieving. Grief will be helped through verbal sessions on Liveperson with a licensed therapist.
What strengths or special abilities do you offer as a professional counselor?
I have many years of experience in clinical practice and I have worked with many different people with many different psychological problems. My extensive training in counseling, psychology and various modes of therapy are brought to every client that I work with. I also have a strong ability of deduction and can apply that to quickly understand what my clients are presenting to me.
One of the key things that I bring to my work with my clients – and it has been noted by my clients as one of my greatest strengths and appeal – is that I work with a person as a person. I often say “Be Real” and that means – we all live in a real world with real stressors that we must get through every day – like everyone else, I must get through this world as my clients must and I understand what that is like. There is no room for psychobabble, philosophy, or confusing jargon when it comes to dealing with life day to day. I understand what my clients bring to me because I live in the same world that they do.
Most importantly, I care.
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