Curt Ramsey is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Virginia beginning his journey of offering ASMR counseling via in-person visits and live video sessions.
In the first post (Nov 10, 2020), Curt shared how he learned about ASMR, his earliest memories of ASMR, his investigations into learning about ASMR, the development of his ASMR practice, and his experiences so far with ASMR counseling.
In update #1 (Dec 14, 2020), Curt shared some challenges and successes he has encountered as he continues his journey into ASMR counseling.
In this update, Curt describes an ASMR counseling session with an ASMR artist and also begins a comparison of direct and indirect forms of therapeutic ASMR.
From Curt Ramsey,
In my last entry, I explored the great potential of ASMR Counseling, including recent sessions, as well as some of the limitations that have become apparent.
In this entry, I’ll share my experience recording a full ASMR session with an ASMRtist (https://youtu.be/172on0j71I4) and explore the distinguishment between direct and indirect forms of therapeutic ASMR.
I met Victoria from Cozy Cabin ASMR simply by reaching out to offer some helpful suggestions for her own ASMR, and her channel has begun to grow ever since. She graciously offered to record an example ASMR counseling session with me in order to give my YouTube viewers an example of how an ASMR counseling session would actually work.
That session was such a valuable experience with several lessons learned.
Victoria was coming to the session unlike many. She was primarily approaching the session as someone interested in the value of ASMR, not as someone who primarily wanted mental health help. Most all of my clients are coming primarily for help with their mental health and then may be open to using ASMR over time.
The session with Victoria was approached with the assumption that ASMR would help. After all, she’s an ASMRtist herself. With that assumption, she easily jumped right into being relaxed by the whispers and tapping sounds that I was bringing to the session.
On the other hand, some of the clients to who I introduce ASMR to are naturally more hesitant about being whispered to until they experience it or become more comfortable with it–and then many of them love it and even start requesting it.
This difference is worth noting. Each client will bring their own experience or inexperience of ASMR to the session, and the way it’s presented needs to be tailored to each individual.
I was also impressed by the relative ease with which Victoria was able to share her personal struggles when we were whispering. Though she was well acquainted with ASMR, she was not well acquainted with the counseling process. Yet, she opened up very honestly as soon as we entered into that magical space which told her that it was okay to be vulnerable.
I’m an avid board-gamer. In the world of board games and role-playing games, there’s a term known as the “magic circle”. Wikipedia defines it as “the space in which the normal rules and reality of the world are suspended and replaced by the artificial reality of a game world”.
I believe the same phenomenon is at play in an ASMR counseling session.
Whereas the game on the table or the roles being assigned give permission to the players to act within their artificial reality, whispering and caring personal attention enables the client to give themselves permission to share from the heart and to trust the therapist. The nature of counseling itself, of course, allows for much of this counseling “magic circle”, but the inclusion of ASMR, I believe, taps into those elements of ASMR that trigger the tingle response, the elements that put people at ease and perhaps remind them of the closest, most caring connections from their childhood. That’s simply magical.
Another thought that my session with Victoria prompted was the difference between direct and indirect therapeutic ASMR.
With her, I had the full go to be as direct with using ASMR in the session as I wished–no holding back! However, in my experience, if a client is ASMR-unaware, it may be beneficial to use ASMR in an indirect manner. If you’ll allow another comparison here, when I use certain therapy techniques with a client, I sometimes tell them that the technique comes from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, etc, but at times, I simply teach the skill or technique without too much explanation.
The difference comes down to my read of the client. Some are curious, open to new ideas, and want to know the background information. Others just want to use whatever will work–nevermind all the new terms or understanding why it works.
Similarly, with ASMR, some clients are curious to dive into the ASMR world and understand why I might purposely talk in a low voice or whisper, but other clients may be more nervous about using something “from YouTube” in their therapy. For these clients, I can use some more natural ASMR elements without naming them as such.
Just today, I used a mindfulness meditation with an online client, but I had a hunch that introducing the client to ASMR in the session would have only increased her anxiety.
So instead, before I began the meditation, I simply told her I would be adjusting my mic’s settings so that she could still hear me if I spoke more softly, which would help with the feeling of relaxation.
It worked wonderfully and felt natural to the client.
This difference between direct and indirect use of therapeutic ASMR deserves to be explored in greater detail, but I’ll leave that for another writing…
Counselor Curt, LLC
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