[LINK] Aussie 'Video Lifelines'

Mike Shearer mike.shearer at jcu.edu.au
Mon Mar 26 08:36:16 AEST 2007

Jan Whitaker wrote:
> any real psychologists on here? My opinion is based on observing the 
> increased amount of revelation that happens in text only conferences 
> and the lack of sharing even in mundane communication when a tv camera 
> is added in videoconferencing. People become self-conscious. Add a 
> vulnerable self-concept and the personal sharing declines further.
I did 10 years as a Lifeline voice-only telephone counsellor and 
trainer, and was also on the suicide call-out team.  You can't 
generalise about voice-only or voice+vision where suicide is concerned.  
In my experience some suicide callers wanted someone to be with them for 
their final moments and would probably have welcomed vision, others were 
extremely anxious that their anonymity be unbreakable to be certain 
their intentions would not be thwarted.  I'm not sure that visual clues 
would really make a lot of difference for the counsellor, except to 
detect the pranksters earlier.

I'd say the same applies to non-suicide crisis calls. 


Mike Shearer  BA, BPsych(Hons), PGDipClinPsych

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