Connecting Online

Working Cafe

What do I need to meet with you online?

  • A safe and confidential place where you can be during your sessions. This means being in a place where you cannot be overheard and your screen cannot be seen by others. This might be a room in your house or your (parked) car. Ideally you will be in a place where you won’t be interrupted during your sessions.
     

  • A device - such as a computer, tablet or smartphone – to connect to your sessions. For sessions where we speak in real time, you will also need reliable Internet connection and/or telephone reception.
     

  • For online video or audio sessions you will need a working microphone and webcam.
     

  • For online video, audio or instant messaging sessions you will need to check that the device which you are intending to use to connect to your sessions is capable of running the software.
     

  • Patience! When communicating online it is much easier to misunderstand someone than when you are with them in person, especially if you are speaking by written text. If you think I’ve misunderstood something you’ve said, please don’t be afraid to correct me as soon as you can.

How do online sessions work?

​Video, Audio, Telephone and Instant Messaging sessions
  • We agree in advance a time and day for your session.
     

  • If we are meeting by telephone, you can call me when you are ready any time from the agreed start of your session time.
     

  • For Online Video and Audio sessions I usually use software called Zoom to connect. This software platform encrypts all data sent in transmission and does not require you to become a ‘contact’ with me, which helps to protect your confidentiality. You will need to download Zoom software to the device which you are going to use; you will be prompted to set up an account but you can choose not to do this and still attend the session. I will send you a Zoom meeting link prior to each session by encrypted email. If you are not comfortable with using Zoom, I usually use Doxy.Me as a back-up platform. This is encrypted an designed for use by healthcare professionals. It does not require you to download anything in order to use it.
     

  • For Instant Messaging sessions I usually use software called Doxy.Me. This platform is fully encrypted, does not require you to register for an account and does not save a transcript of your session. I will send you a hyperlink prior to your first session by encrypted email. If you would prefer to use a platform which saves a copy of our conversation then I usually suggest using Signal, which is encrypted and secure. It does require you to download the software and become a 'contact' with me.

 

Email sessions
  • We agree a regular day when we will have a “session” which means this is the day when you will send me an email. You can email me once or multiple times. Please bear in mind that the more text you send me, the longer it will take me to read and reflect on it and compose a response. As a general rule, 1500 words is the limit you can send me for each session to expect a meaningful reply.
     

  • I will send you a brief acknowledgement of each email you send me when I receive it. I will send you a longer email (up to 650 words) with my responses to your reflections within 72 hours of receipt of your email.
     

  • I will suggest that we email using Frama RMail software which provides end to end encryption and tracks emails to give reassurance that they have reached the intended recipient safely. You can use this and your emails will be fully encrypted, without you having to download software, register or pay for an account yourself.

 

 

Is online counselling appropriate for everyone?

Many people find online counselling helpful, and many find it as helpful as in person counselling.
 

However, online counselling is not recommended if you:
 

  • self-harm regularly and/or severely.
     

  • are in the middle of a crisis and you have plans to take your life. If you are in crisis and need help right now then you can find details of organisations who can support you immediately here.
     

  • have a diagnosed eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
     

  • live with serious mental health issues, of the type which mean that your view of the world and what is “real” is radically different to other people’s. This includes people with a diagnosis of psychosis.
     

  • have a long-standing dependency on alcohol or other substances.

 

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having my sessions online rather than in person?

Meeting online is different from being in person. It is not necessarily better or worse (it depends on your viewpoint), but it is different.

Some of the advantages of meeting online are:
 

  • You don’t risk picking up or spreading infections (like Covid 19). You also don’t risk having your sessions interrupted if either of us suddenly needs to self-isolate.
     

  • You save time and money as there is no need to travel to and from a therapy room. Online sessions fit more easily into busy schedules.
     

  • You can easily access counselling or supervision if you live remotely or if you travel a lot.
     

  • There is less impact on the environment as you don’t need to drive or take public transport to attend sessions.
     

  • You can choose from a wide range of counsellors and supervisors, some of whom specialise in working with particular issues or groups of people – not just those practitioners who happen to be geographically close to you.
     

  • If you are a parent or guardian, you do not necessarily need to leave your home while you attend sessions so you may not need to arrange childcare.
     

  • Online sessions may be a more practical option if you live with a disability that limits how easily you can attend sessions in person.
     

  • You may simply prefer to connect online rather than in person in which case meeting online may feel like a natural choice for you.
     

Some of the disadvantages of meeting online are:
 

  • At times everyone has problems with Internet and telephone connections. There will be times when videos freeze, audio is dropped or there might be a delay in speech. This can interrupt the flow of real-time counselling sessions.
     

  • Online communication can never be 100% secure. While I do my utmost to ensure your privacy (by using software platforms that encrypt data and do not sell users’ personal data), the privacy of online communication can never be 100% guaranteed.