Online Counselling Information
What is Online Counselling?
Online counselling provides an opportunity to explore a personal difficulty in a confidential and supportive environment. This may include expressing feelings that are painful, and which many of us experience at certain times of our lives. When this happens, it can be difficult to stay positive and cope with everyday life. Online counselling gives you the opportunity to access counselling support at a time and a place which is convenient for you.
What Does this Service Offer?
We will agree on an “appointment time” which will be the time agreed to meet on Zoom , Signal or whatever platform we have decided to meet on. This might be weekly or every other week. As I will need time to read your email reply to this, I will need you to send it at least 24 hours before I reply with an appointment time.
I ask for payment in advance by bank transfer and once this has been made, I will email you a link to access your appointment with me if we are using Zoom . If you have made payment for a session but are unable to meet at the appointed time, I will retain the fee for the session unless we have experienced a technological breakdown which prevents us having the session. In the event of this happening we would discuss how to re-arrange the scheduled appointment.
For telephone appointments I usually use the free online platform, Zoom with the video option turned off. I also use Zoom for text-based appointments using the “chat” function with the video and audio switched off. Once the session has ended the “chat” disappears, ensuring confidentiality. This is a platform recommended by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) for counsellors to use when working with clients.
I will provide a link for you to download the software if you don’t already have it installed on your device. I would suggest that you do not reveal your full name or any personal address details while we are engaged on this platform, as this helps to maintain the privacy of the sessions.
- Convenience – you can create a comfortable and private space in your own home from which to attend therapy, at a time that suits you.
- You may find it easier to talk/text, focus and express yourself.
- There is a possibility of more flexibility with the timing of sessions.
- esearch shows that telephone/text therapy can as effective as face to face in-person therapy for certain people.
- Secure encryption software offers confidentiality and peace of mind.
- Your environment where you have therapy is your very own private space.
- Problems with internet connection. I will share some instructions in the guidance section to help get you set up. We will decide on an alternative method of communication should an issue arise.
- Not seeing/hearing each other can mean that you don’t feel an immediate connection with me.
- The visual component of seeing body language and facial expressions is not present in the relationship and it may take a bit more focus to facilitate good communication. With text the voices are also not used which can also impact on communication. These issues can be overcome, and the most important thing is that we are working in a way which you are comfortable with and suits you.
At any point you can request to change the type of sessions you are having – online, telephone or text.
- I would encourage you to treat the session as you would an in-person session and put in place as many of the same boundaries as possible.
- Find a comfortable space with privacy, which could include somewhere in your house, garden or even in your car.
- It might help to post a note on the door if you are using a room to request that you are not disturbed unless it is an emergency.
- I encourage you to use headphones or earphones (if using the phone option) as this will keep the content of our sessions private, improves sound quality, and also minimises
- Please close other applications and browser windows on your device and put your phone on silence or turn it off, as we would do in person.
- Feel free to bring drinks such as water/tea/coffee to the session. Please avoid alcohol and drugs prior to and during a session and please do not smoke or vape during the session.
- Give yourself time after the session to process what has taken place before re-joining your family, working, or making other calls.
Confidentiality and Security?
I am legally bound to make disclosure to the police authorities if a client reveals that they are intending to cause serious risk of harm to themselves or others. In addition, if at any point during the counselling you are in need of emergency support, I would ask for your consent to contact your GP or recommend alternative avenues of support, rather than online counselling.
With online/telephone/text counselling, it is not possible to guarantee 100% confidentiality, as we will be relying upon a 3rd party platform, in order to hold the sessions.
To minimise the risk of any breach of confidentiality, I make sure that I am aware of any updates or changes to the platforms I use. It is also very important that both of us make sure that our devices are fully updated before sessions and that we have virus protection in place.
We will also both agree to not make a recording of any kind of the session.
Guidelines for Emergency Contact
Telephone/text counselling cannot provide an emergency service for clients.
In the event of an emergency arising, whilst you are engaged in a session or if you were experiencing suicidal thoughts, I would discuss with you the appropriate support that you could access during this period.
If you found yourself in immediate crisis and were considering serious self-harm it would be vital to get immediate help. This could include contacting your GP, or your nearest Emergency Department (E.D).
You could also call the Samaritans on 116123, email on jo@samaritans
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. If you are interested in booking a session, please can you fill out and return the Client Questions form.