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Telephone counseling is a type of psychological first aid where a person communicates the counselor. Various aids and purposes may be behind the telephone counselling session, depending on the organization providing the service.

Unlike traditional counselling, either party may not have nor need guaranteed privacy; the electronic technologies involved make it difficult to prevent multiple phone connections, loudspeakers, or recording of the interactions.

Telephone counselling may be conducted as a pre-treatment, concurrent-treatment, or after-treatment of other interactions. Not all telephone counselling is necessarily for personal therapy; in fact most other uses may be the main or secondary purposes: research, sharing, messages, gossip, friendliness, news or business.

Unlike other forms of counselling, telephone counselling can be free of conflicting events: geography, time, duration, costs, , and in situ, real-time pressures. Telephone counselling can be more effective than most other forms of counselling. The academic research into telephone counselling, as it is currently practiced around the world, has yet to be done.

Australia has a national (government-subsidized by the government-dominated telephone carrier) Telephone counselling service, Lifeline. In the larger cities in Australia, there may also be smaller Telephone counselling services, specialized in for example: domestic violence, war-victims, youth, gambling, finances, substance abuse, parenting or child care.

New Zealand has a community-based, youth-oriented Telephone counselling service, Youthline. Based in 11 local centers around the country, Youthline enlists 1100 volunteers nationwide (100 of whom are working in an online context).

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