If they’re right–and that’s why we call them experts–then opening up new methods of communication can only be of benefit to a marriage or relationship that is struggling.
Well, video conferencing is one method of communication, and it’s one of the newest around. While we tend to think of video as a communication method of last resort for people divided by distance, it could be a front line solution for people divided by emotion.
WebRTC video conferencing makes it possible for anyone, anywhere, and at any time to connect face-to-face. Combine this ability with an increase in online counselors and therapists and you have a whole new dynamic to get couples whose in-person relationship is getting combative to start talking to each other again.
Maybe laptops at ten paces is a reasonable way to begin an awkward conversation.
Online Marriage Counseling
There are several relationship counseling services that let couples reach out for support using the internet as a first point of contact. Not emailed contact, but direct real-time communication.
British company Relate and U.S. counterpart TalkSpace both offer live text chat with therapists direct from their sites. In both cases, this initial contact builds toward a longer term relationship with a dedicated counselor. And in each case couples can conduct these long term sessions over a video call.
TalkSpace, in fact, just upgraded its video potential by partnering with cloud communications provider Agora.io. TalkSpace may still be operating mostly as a text chat service for now, but Agora is something of a WebRTC specialist, so it’s possible that sometime soon couples may be able to begin their counseling with a face-to-face conversation, rather than an anonymous chat.
That’s because WebRTC is designed to turn any webpage into a live video conference. It’s a simpler, faster way to get people talking.
WebRTC for Instant Therapy
If TalkSpace follows Agora’s lead into the WebRTC space, its 3000 licensed therapists could be on call 24/7 to start speaking with either member of a couple in troubled waters directly through its existing site.
Those in need of therapy could call in by any device, be it PC or mobile, and conduct a session without having to download a specialist app or sign up to a third-party video calling platform like Skype.
Once the therapeutic relationship reached a stage where it would be appropriate to introduce the other member of the marriage, the couple could share a screen, or call in from separate screens.
Maybe he is currently away from home for work. Perhaps she works long hours and can’t get to a mutual screen. Or it’s possible the relationship is at so tender a stage it’s better that each party occupies their own real world space.
Whatever the reason, the virtual WebRTC session can easily accommodate three separate callers all meeting in a shared online reality. That little extra breathing space may help everyone involved better speak their mind or feel more comfortable.
After all, some experts believe a healthy relationship requires a little space.
Online Relationship Advice
Despite the ongoing fact that half of marriages fail–although the older generations seem to be those most commonly encountering irreconcilable differences today–there is hope for the romantic at heart.
The national divorce rate recently hit a 40-year low, while the annual count of new marriages is at its highest for nearly a decade. That’s an encouraging trend, and one that could be bolstered by these emerging ways of communicating and learning how to communicate.
New forms of communication can’t force people to talk to each other in a meaningful way, but they can make it more practical to do so. Having an online WebRTC therapist means never having to interrupt your day to drive to a common physical location. It means being able to conduct an intimate group conversation with all the body language and personality of a face-to-face chat without having to enter strange surroundings. It means disregarding standard office hours and having that conversation when each party is ready to talk.
Relationship counseling via video conference gives couples the chance to seek advice when and how it works best for them. It may be old advice that communication is key, but never before have couples had so many options when it comes to the method of communication.
Image Source: Flickr CC User Meha Jayaram