In the article “Counseling children at a helpline: chatting or calling?” Fukkink and Hermanns (2009) presents readers with an innovative way in which the Dutch have innovated the traditional method of counseling by providing sessions that can be given to children via an online chat portal or through the phone.
As Fukkink and Hermanns (2009) explain, it has always been the case that counseling has been a face to face/ voice to voice interaction between the counselor and the patient however as seen in numerous cases around the world people/children are sometimes afraid to go in for counseling due to the supposed sociological implications this may have on their reputations or by the sheer fact that they are just merely afraid of going.
Fukkink and Hermanns (2009) hypothesized that among the two methods used for counseling sessions it was the use of the chat conversations that would derive a far better form of counseling as compared to phone conversations due to the more impersonal nature of the conversation which allowed children to express themselves more without actually exposing themselves.
Fukkink and Hermanns (2009) examined the responses derived from a selection of telephone and chat conversations in order to see which method produced a greater “connection” between the counselor and patient and which resulted in positive results.
In their study Fukkink and Hermanns (2009) showed that children who used the chat portal as a means of talking to a counselor were actually able to develop a more meaningful dialogue and this was evidenced by the quality of the conversations that were examined.
One way in which Fukkink and Hermanns (2009) explain how this occurred is by implying that it is the impersonal nature of chat conversations and how children feel less pressured to answer on the spot that the quality of conversations thus improved.
Critique of the Article
First and foremost it must be noted that numerous individuals who need counseling sessions go without one and this at times has lead to further erosion of their mental health.
For example, children who have recently become part of a divorced family, have a father/mother in jail, those who are being bullied, children who have been the victims of sexual and physical abuse as well as children that are labeled as “different”; these and an assortment of similar cases all warrant some form of counseling in order to help ease children into the situation they are facing and to prevent any permanent mental problems from occurring. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, in most of these cases appropriate help isn’t given.
When taking into consideration the results of the Fukkink and Hermanns (2009) article it can be seen that social and non-governmental agencies around the world that strive to counsel children have a possible alternative they can pursue in terms of getting help to children that need it the most.
While it may be true that the Fukkink and Hermanns (2009) was somewhat lacking in the veracity of its results in terms of having a more varied population base to further prove its assertions it was able to do so adequately in the case of the Netherlands and as such proves that proper and efficient methods of counseling can be provided without necessarily having to either call the patient or arrange a face to face conversation since apparently children respond just as well to chatting as compared to a direct conversation.