Online and Telephone Counselling
Information for Clients
Online counselling therapy is a way for you to engage in counselling and psychotherapy using internet technology such as email, online chat, telephone or webcam video.
You have autonomy over choosing the type of online counselling you wish to have. The decision to choose one way of working online over another can depend on which method of communication you are most comfortable with. You get to choose the time, the place and the pace of the counselling to suit your own personal needs.
Every effort is made to provide a safe and secure environment for your e-therapy by using encryption enabled technology which can provide peace of mind that your sessions are confidential and secure.
What are your choices for Online Counselling?
Within this digital age we are provided with more and more choices of how we may wish to communicate with people. The following is an informative guide about the types of online counselling that I currently offer to people that wish to engage in online therapy.
Webcam counselling is essentially whereby two people are able to hear and see each other when communicating. You can access webcam counselling if you have a smart phone, laptop, tablet or computer with a webcam and microphone. Sessions will be held on Zoom which makes use of secure 'end-to-end encryption' during video calls which are ideal for ensuring every effort is made to keep your counselling sessions safe and confidential. If required, you will be guided on setting up your account with Zoom. Sessions are 60 minutes in length. With webcam counselling you get the benefits of being able to virtually see the body language and facial expressions of the other person. In this regard webcam counselling compares closely to working 'face-to-face' or 'in the room' where two people meet up physically in the same room.
This is similar to video counselling because it is offered through the Zoom application but the video feature is turned off making it an audio call only. Sessions are 60 minutes in length at a pre-arranged time. Telephone counselling might be a preferred option for people that feel more comfortable talking without someone actually seeing them like in a videoconferencing call. Whilst we cannot see another persons body reactions, an therapist trained in working via telephone may be able to verbalise their body language as it can be a way to express empathy. A disadvantage of telephone counselling is that you need a private room where you will not be overheard.
Online counselling offers certain benefits but there are also limitations to take into consideration when deciding which form of therapy will be best matched up to your personal needs.
Chat Room Counselling
Should you choose the online chat room you will be directed to a secure login page that takes you to an encrypted area where you meet your counsellor at a
time that was prearranged beforehand. Your session is 60 minutes and a transcript is available afterwards allowing you to review what both you and your counsellor said. This gives you the opportunity to clarify any uncertainties you may have had from the session and also leaves you something to go back to and reflect upon as you process the information. You don't need to have a webcam for this counselling and you may choose to remain visually anonymous if you wish.
Email Based Counselling
Counselling using email offers you the opportunity to reflect on what you choose to say before you send it. In addition, email counselling offers the option of going back through the exchanges after the session which can be good for recalling what was discussed and further reflection upon the session. Your email sessions will be held on a secure encrypted email server; this may likely be an email set up specially and specifically for your counselling sessions. If you choose to have email based therapy I can guide you on how to set up a secure encrypted email for such work. Sometimes, email counselling is used in between sessions, be that face to face or video. Email communication is a supplementary and auxiliary way of working but it also has the ability to be used as the main source of communication should you so choose. A limitation of email counselling is that the response time for such emails is not immediate as in telephone or video counselling.
It is good to also have an overview of the benefits and things to think about regarding online therapy. This is so that you can make a well informed personal choice on how best to proceed forward for yourself and your personal situation.
- You can access counselling services from the comfort of your own home.
- Can be from your own home at a time that suits you
- You don’t have to travel
- Offers people that don't want to leave their house accessibility to counselling.
- Peace of mind that secure encryption enabled software offers confidentiality when working online
- You don’t have the worry of the possibility of someone else seeing you enter into a physical building for counselling.
- Can be good for people that have got busy lives.
- A good choice for individuals with physical disabilities
- Enables you work with a counsellor that you wish to work with even if they are at the opposite end of the country or are based in a different country all together.
- Increases accessibility to counselling services to a wider demographic of people.
- Provides access to counselling if you live in a remote location where access to counselling services are difficult.
Things to Consider
- Some people prefer to talk ‘face-to-face’ and ‘in-the-room’
- What is your relationship like with using technology for communication?
- What is your internet broadband like?
- Do you have enough bandwidth if you choose webcam counselling via Zoom?
- Does the room you plan to use offer you confidentiality?
- Does the room you plan to use have a strong enough wifi signal for video calls?
- If others are in the house sharing the internet, are you able to ensure they are not streaming Netflix or YouTube whilst you are having a Zoom session?
- Are there places to go in the house or times in the day where you know you will have the privacy required for an online counselling session?
- The situation you are in may be simply to complex to be worked with in an online environment.
- Some people experiencing abusive relationships at home may be safer to work face-to-face.
- People at risk of harm to themselves and that are likely to engage in risky behaviour are often considered to be safer to have in the room therapy.
- Counselling for substance abuse is also considered more preferable when working face-to-face.
- Some people may like the journey of going to see their counsellor and find that the journey itself gets them ‘in the mindset’ ready to talk.
- Can you access a computer within a confidential environment within your home?
- Meanings of words can sometimes be more difficult to understand in text or email form and can sometimes be misunderstood.
- Face to face therapy enables us to read body language and non-verbal communications in an immediately way.
- Face to face work has a spontaneous element to it and our immediate reactions can be useful in a therapeutic way.