I am only able to take on new online clients.
I am only able to take on new online clients.
Some concessions are available for online counselling services during the Coronavirus pandemic; contact me to discuss individual needs.
Online counselling is the way I can personally continue to offer a counselling service during the corona virus pandemic.
Like so many of us, I had to make the difficult decision to stop offering face to face counselling, during this pandemic.
I appreciate this may feel like more choices are being removed, in these already uncertain times; but this is unavoidable for me. Whilst this is disappointing, to me and I suspect, many of you, I hope you, will use this as an opportunity to try this different approach to counselling. You may be surprised at how much this can help.
I am a qualified Online Counsellor, having completed the OSCT Diploma in Online Counselling Skills, which I hope adds some reassurance around this.
Aside from the current need for social distancing; Online counselling can be a really useful option to consider, for many reasons.
Below are just a few possible reasons that you may find this option more appealing; than traditional face to face counselling:
As you can see there are many reasons why you may want to look at online counselling.
I am pleased to say, that I believe this can be just as helpful as us meeting face to face; if it feels right for you.
I can help you to look at the online options available and select the right choice/s for you.
Online counselling can help to shine the light, to help you find the direction, or the road you want to take next.........
Wondering what online counselling could mean to you?
Wondering how this is delivered?
There is more information in the next section, about the different mediums; there should be one that could suit you and your unique preferences.
Do contact me for more information about this service and I will be happy to provide additional information or answer questions.
We will complete an assessment prior to agreeing to use online as the method for counselling; to ensure that this approach and the medium offered, is suitable for you and meets your needs.
Sometimes online counselling may not be as helpful for you as face to face counselling and this assessment process, helps us to make sure we are opting for the best thing for you.
Your well-being is the most important thing and my assessment process supports this.
Online counselling means using technology and different platforms, to communicate at a distance.
It is different to the face to face approach where we meet at a physical space together.
Online counselling can be provided in 'real time', similar to a face to face appointment, using Webcam for example. It can also be carried out at different times to each other, when using email as the medium for the communication.
Which medium we decide to use will depend on the issue you want to explore, the time you have, the resources you have in relation to technology and your preferred communication style.
I will be offering the following online mediums for online clients:
Email exchanges: we will have a planned day each week, for me to spend the counselling hour on replying to you. You can send your email when you are ready, up until that agreed day, so it is very flexible for you.
Voice only webcam, usually an hour duration, on a set day and time agreed in advance.
Webcam with video enabled, usually an hour duration, on a set day and time agreed in advance.
I am also happy to consider blended counselling, where we could use face to face, as well as online counselling. This would mean location to my face to face premises is more important.
Instant messaging (IM) can be considered if this is your particular preference.
This can be useful, when you want to take your time composing your account of the problems or challenges you are facing.
It may be useful, if actually finding a dedicated hour for a counselling session is problematic. With this approach you can create your email in stages if needed.
It may also suit you if you like to reflect yourself and then refine issues, before you want to look at them with your counsellor. You can start composing the email and then leave it, review it and then complete the email over a period of time.
It is important to be comfortable with writing/typing and to be happy to wait for responses from your counsellor, as your reply would be provided at a set time like a weekly appointment slot; so it isn't instant.
This is where we use the webcam platform Zoom, but set the option to not have the video on.
This may be useful, if you want the contact in real time, but prefer not to be seen.
In this way it is similar to having phone counselling.
Some people feel quite self conscious about using webcam, because they don't like seeing themselves on screen; so may opt for voice only so they feel comfortable in the session.
This is where we meet for online counselling using Zoom and we can see and hear each other.
This is the most similar to face to face counselling, out of the online mediums.
In this we have all of the benefits of non-verbal communication and if you rely on this when communicating, this may be the option you prefer.
The webcam based options do rely on both of us having a good internet connection and having the zoom software downloaded.
If you are currently in crisis and feeling at risk for your safety and/or are feeling actively suicidal; then online counselling is not appropriate right now.
Please instead seek urgent support from your GP, NHS 111, take yourself to your local A&E if possible.
You can also call the Samaritans free on 116123 for support 24hrs a day, 375 days a year. You can also email the Samaritans on firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the start of the process for online counselling, where you make the contact with me via the contact form here, or by emailing me or phoning me.
I then contact you by email to arrange a time for a phone call, where we can complete the free initial consultation. Then I can explain what happens next for you as an individual.
There will be the initial phone call where the assessment process starts. Then if you still feel you want to go ahead with me, I will ask you to set up your own Protonmail account, so I can then email you the assessment forms and paperwork needed. You will then return these to me using your Protonmail account so we have end to end encryption for privacy and security.
Once I receive this back I will review this and then contact you again, to then look at how we move forward. At this stage if I have any concerns about the suitability of this style of counselling for you; I will ask to have another phone call to look at this, before we confirm the sessions. This additional call will not be charged to you.
The assessment and contracting has been completed and we have agreed it would be good to make a start. This is when you will need to familiarise yourself a little more with the software and online platform, ahead of the session if using IM or webcam options.
It is important to test your internet connection, do any computer housekeeping and consider how you will ensure your own privacy, when participating in online sessions. You will be asked to confirm you have adequate privacy, before I begin any active counselling work online.
The first session will then be a continuation of the assessment period; so we can see how the medium selected feels for you and see how we get on with the technology. The first session for live sessions, will need to be for 1hour and 15mins; to allow for the initial potential teething problems, we may encounter when working online. This also supports time to review this at the end and agree the next steps. The payment needs to be provided 24hrs before the planned online session and can be completed using the PayPal link at the bottom of this web page, unless other arrangements have been agreed.
It will then be, that we plan in a few online counselling sessions ideally; so we know where we are going and this will involve regular reviews in sessions; to assess how it is feeling for you. If needed we can consider changes if the initial online medium doesn't feel right for you.
Is webcam done on Skype?
Webcam is done using Zoom or Vsee platforms, rather than skype, as these offer encryption, to provide the most secure service. If you have used skype/facetime apps, then zoom and Vsee are very similar to this.
Can I do sessions using my smartphone?
Yes you can as long as you download the zoom App to support the zoom meetings.
I really hate seeing myself on video, can we still meet for counselling using zoom?
Yes we can as there is the option to turn off video and just use the voice function.
What if I find it hard to talk about my problem?
We can look at alternatives like using instant messaging, if you really find talking in zoom difficult. Zoom does have a chat function; so if we were in a webcam session and there is something that is more difficult to say, then you could use the chat function to share this with me. We could also consider using secure email for this too.
Can I use my normal email for online counselling?
I ask all online clients to sign up for a secure email account with protonmail, as this service uses encryption. This is ideally needed for all mediums for the sharing of the assessment information, regardless of the plan to use webcam for example. Please also see the additional information about privacy. If you decide to use your standard email, this is at your own risk.
Privacy and confidentiality:
It is important when considering having counselling, using an online medium, that we give attention to confidentiality and privacy. This is important for us both.
The email service I use when opting for online counselling email exchanges is ProtonMail.
This is a free encrypted email service, that you will ideally join, If we plan to use email for anything more than initial contacts and general information. The reason being is that the information is likely to be of a personal, private and potentially sensitive nature. The assessment forms for example will ask for this type of information. Therefore in order to comply with the law (DPA 2018 and GDPR regulations); I need to ensure I receive and keep the information provided private and confidential. Using Protonmail provides a safe space for this communication to be conducted.
When working using Webcam based platforms for online counselling, we use Zoom.
Zoom is a secure platforms offering encryption.
You can access more information about this platform by looking at the following: https://zoom.us/privacy
In terms of ensuring confidentiality and privacy during real time online counselling sessions you will need to be able to access a private area, where you feel safe and able to talk freely.
When using computers, laptops, phones for this, it is important to use passwords to restrict unwanted access to your information. All of my devices are password protected and for my sole use to provide the required security; as well as using the safest online platforms.
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