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What it's like to to be an Online Therapist (Listener)?

January 20, 2015, 9:22 am | This story has an Influence Score of 566

By leahgarcia

 

I have gone through a terrible heartache recently and it’s sure really hard to cope with it. That’s why I have looked for ways to eliminate all those unkind memories lingering in my mind. And being the crazy and random me I even checked if there’s anything on the web that could provide the easiest way to move on (because bingeing on chick flicks, drowning thyself on alcohol, stalking your ex to see if you have been replaced with someone better or downloading Tinder to check for a possible rebound are too mainstream). Anyways, this article is not about me, I just want to share how I came across upon finding answers while my mind is on the wander. And how I found out about some very interesting people to feature on this article. Since my time and resources won’t permit me to get professional help from a therapist I’ve search if there’s a sensible online care group that could help me find my way out from my emotionally devastating situation.

 

And there I found, “7 cups of tea” and met one of their online listeners whom we’ll call “thegreyangelichellion19” (TGAH19). He preferred not to disclose his name but has willingly shared his encounters as an online therapist. “thegreyangelichellion19” is a 19-year old guy from California. He wants to be a professional therapist, however, due to lack of resources he's unable to pursue it. He’s been through a great depression himself -- as a typical youth he's gone through a lot of pressures and even relationship problems with his own family. But God has been very balanced for He has blessed him with a good girl, who introduced him to “7 cups of tea”, he started up as one of those people who are seeking for answers and comfort with their situations and this has greatly helped him recover. In turn, he volunteered to be one of the listeners and the rest is history.

Here, I also met Angie, who on the other hand, has no hesitation sharing a bit of her personal details with us. She is just a newly volunteered listener, an 18-year old girl from Mexico. She has a fair share of mishaps in her life as well. At a very young age she has suffered from great depression, anxiety, bulimia and even self-harm, caused by painful experiences in her life. She knows her father, was able to meet him, but never got a chance to be with him. She has also lost her grandparents simultaneously (gap between deaths are not specified). She’s now dealing with her situation by going through medications and sessions with her doctor. These experiences have also led her to become one of the listeners for “7 cups of tea”.

“Hi, are you available for talk?” I asked.

Both of them showed willingness and I could sense their compassion and sincerity when they entertained my question thinking that I was one of those people who will ask for them to listen and seek for their advice, so I just continued and keep our conversation going. I've asked them a few questions about their experience regarding being an online listener.

“You’ve mentioned earlier the depression you have gone through before and glad to know that you’ve overcome it, in a way I could feel that you can identify and see yourself with these people huh?” I asked TGAH19.

“Yes, I can identify with these people who ask for my assistance because I, also am a victim towards similar emotions. That’s what makes helping them easier than most others, I truly understand what they are going through, and I know what to say in order to assist them.

And Angie just give a simple answer of “yes”.

“What are the most common concerns people are bringing up and how do your approach varies depending on their situation?”

Angie is not into giving pieces of advice to people, she’s solely focusing on listening to them and letting them know that they are not alone with their difficult dealings. I personally liked her approach because sometimes when we are going through some tough time, we don’t want to hear what people have got to say, they are irrelevant and others are not completely helping at all. We, sometimes just want to know that there’s somebody out there who is willing to lend their ears and spare us a little of their time to listen to us and in that way we can release all our emotions. So Angie’s formula for that: Ask the problem → ask if they want to talk about it → LISTEN.

On the other hand, TGAH19 may have had more encounters than Angie and he’s been dealing with them also in a one-way approach.

“Honestly the most common problems I listen too are mainly depression, anxiety, relationship issues and family issues. My approach is usually the same: warm introduction, thoughtful questions, and hopefully quick responses”, he answered.

I continued by asking them their most challenging experience by far, in giving help to a person, and the two seem to prove people’s diversity in ways of facing their problems.

“The most challenging experience I have had was dealing with a guy who is usually strong and perfect, but inside he was rotting. I managed to thwart his ideas of suicide, and allowed him to have a clear-minded day without any problems.” TGAH19 answered.

“None so far.” Angie said. However if she’d come to encounter one, she’d be sticking with her approach.

Then I asked TGAH19 particularly;

“Having said that, would you also encourage people to do the same thing? Like encouraging others, using their own situations in life in able to relate with others and help them pick themselves up in times of confusion and desperation?”

“Of course people should do this, it’s the best way to broadcast human empathy.”

And I completely agree, so I turned to Angie and asked particularly;

“What is the best lesson that you have learned so far in being an online listener?”

“7 cups of tea” has helped me become more understanding and sensitive to difficult situations of people.”

And finally, TGAH19 left all of us a very nice advice for the times when we feel like giving up because of too much burdens that we bear.

“Think about those that love you, and try to remember they are more helpful than you think, and always keep moving forward.”

I am very much inspired with TGAH19 and Angie’s stories, as they have found a great way of turning their situations upside down. Instead of giving up or dwelling with their difficulties they used them to inspire and help others cope with their own problems. Hopefully, platforms or applications like “7 cups of tea” will help reduce suicide rates among youths and adults, get more developed and be able to reach more people.

After chatting with them I’ve had my personal reflection that sometimes we are too focused on our emotions thinking that it’s the worst. Nothing and no one could ease the pain and there seems to be no way out and things are not making any sense. But if you would come to think of it, yes, your emotions are you own but it doesn’t mean that you are the only one going through that same situation. It’s not true that no one could ever understand them, because there’s God -- first and foremost --your loved ones, and you have yourself! And there are people like TGAH19 and Angie who might have been in a more helpless situation than you are.  

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