Writing for therapy has long been recognised as therapeutic. Email can be described as writing a journal that answers back, helping you explore and reflect on your words, thoughts and feelings with a professional alongside you.
You don’t have to be an avid journal writer to benefit from this type of therapy – nor is there any right or wrong way to write.
How it works
Emails are shared over an agreed length of time. For example, you may choose to send an email every Tuesday and your counsellor will agree to respond to this within 2 days. You then have a few days to review and respond to this email and so on. The schedule of emails will be agreed between you and your counsellor – it may be weekly, fortnightly, or even as part of a mixed method alongside video therapy.
You have time to compose your email at a time to suit you and to review it before you choose to send it to your counsellor. Likewise, the counsellor has time to read and reflect on your words before responding.
One of the benefits clients feel about this method of therapy is that it gives more time to think as there is not a need for an immediate response or a feeling of being put on the spot.
(please note that email therapy is not appropriate for crisis situations where immediate support is required).
How long should emails be?
As a rough guide – therapeutic emails are usually around 500 words. This is not an exact science, but your emails should be in depth enough to help explore your thoughts, but you do not need to write an essay each time. A standard therapy session is usually 50 – 60 minutes, so think about spending this time on your email. This may be in bits and pieces rather than written at one sitting – everyone will find their own style that works. The response from your counsellor will be of similar length exploring and reflecting on your email and offering further questions and areas to explore.
As with all therapy – your sessions will always be reviewed between you and your counsellor to ensure they are working effectively for you.
Security – setting up a ProtonMail account
Ensuring security for sending emails is essential for email therapy. We use ProtonMail – which is an end-to-end encrypted email service.
Before starting email therapy you will be asked to set up a Protonmail account. This is free and very straightforward to do. https://protonmail.com/.
Our ProtonMail email is separate from our other email communications we use for MindMob (enquiries, scheduling etc) and is only used for email therapy and only shared with our email therapy clients.