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Online Counselling

What is Online Counselling?

Counselling* aims to help you clarify difficult feelings, get to know and accept yourself better, think about the choices you have and consider any changes you might want to make in your life. People come to counselling for a vast range of reasons. Sometimes something specific has happened that remains unresolved, sometimes it might be because things have been building up for a while. Sometimes people are not sure exactly what the problem is but fundamentally they know that something “is not quite right” in life. All of these reasons are valid. When you seek counselling, you are taken seriously no matter what your reason for coming is. You are listened to without judgement or blame. You are not interrogated and you are not laughed at. You are encouraged to talk about your reasons for coming as honestly as you can. Online counselling simply means that our meetings take place remotely - either online and/or by telephone and you do not physically come to visit me. Online counselling includes counselling by telephone, online video call, online audio call, instant messenger and email. Take a look at the FAQ page to find out more about the practicalities of meeting these ways. *In the UK, the distinction between counselling and psychotherapy is not legally defined at present. I believe that counselling and psychotherapy are essentially the same thing so I use the term counselling to mean both counselling and psychotherapy. If you are based in a country which does draw a distinction, or if your health insurance body does, then I am qualified in the UK in both counselling and psychotherapy.

Stone Tower

Who do you work with?

I offer counselling to people aged 16 and over. I am based in Hull (United Kingdom) and I work with people local to this area, people from all parts of the United Kingdom and people in a number of other countries too. If you are based outside the United Kingdom and you think I can help you then please contact me to discuss whether we can work together (with due regard for the relevant law in our respective countries).

What sort of counselling do you offer?

I listen to what you are saying and pick out the key themes which are emerging in order to clarify for you what is going on at the moment. People often feel relieved by this process and you may find that this is all you need. Some people want to know how their attitudes, thoughts and feelings interlink and where they originate from in order to understand themselves better. I can help you to think more deeply about your past experiences and relationships, how your responses and beliefs have come to be formed and how they are affecting you now. You may want to consider changes you would like to make in your life. These could be about how you see yourself and others; how you make sense of your past and your future; how you handle relationships; or how you take care of yourself day to day. Together we can think through changes you would like to make so these stay with you after the counselling sessions have finished. My style of counselling is an Eclectic Integrative approach based around the framework of the Skilled Helper model. I combine theory from the Humanistic schools of therapeutic thought (including Person Centred, Narrative, Gestalt, Existential and Transactional Analysis) and other areas too including Attachment Theory, Systemic Family Theory, Psychodynamic Therapy, Mindfulness, Solution Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). (If you’d like to know more about what these mean then you can ask me!) I am also interested in more recent writing and research about the impact of trauma on an individual’s development, health and wellbeing – so some of these ideas influence how I practice as well.

What's the first step?

Please contact me or book online to arrange an initial discussion of up to 30 minutes. We can talk by instant messenger, telephone, online audio or video - whichever feels most comfortable for you. In this conversation we will consider together what is prompting you to seek counselling at the moment and whether my style of counselling is likely to be helpful for you. The conversation is free of charge. If we agree that counselling sessions with me are likely to be helpful for you, then I will email you an assessment form to complete and return to me, and arrange a time/day for a one-off assessment appointment with you using the technology which you would like to use for your counselling sessions. This assessment appointment lasts for up to 60 minutes and is charged for. The assessment appointment involves discussing your situation in depth, and considering what you would like to gain from counselling sessions. It is also an opportunity for you to assess if you think I am the right counsellor to work with you at the moment. If we agree to continue to work together then I will send you a Counselling Agreement and a Privacy Statement by email for you to read and sign electronically. The terms of these include those found on the Terms of Use and Privacy pages of this website. Once the paperwork is completed, we will agree when to meet for regular counselling sessions. These can be scheduled to suit you and can either be at the same time/day on a regular basis, or can be scheduled as and when needed. If for any reason I don't think counselling with me is appropriate for you then I will do my best to give you suggestions of alternative organisations or people who may be able to support you better.

How many sessions will I need?

Some people come to counselling for a handful of sessions and some come for much longer – sometimes years. A lot depends on what you want to get out of your counselling sessions, and how long-standing and complex the situations are which you want to think through. At your initial assessment we will discuss roughly how many sessions you might need and use this as a starting point. Together we regularly review how the counselling is going and might agree to either shorten or lengthen our work. This is very much a joint process and I will not pressure you into attending sessions for longer than you need nor will I encourage you to leave before you feel ready.

Are my sessions confidential?

All counselling sessions are confidential. You can check out my confidentiality policy for full details of exactly what this means – you can find it on the Terms of Use webpage. I cannot 100% guarantee that your online communication with me will be private. (This is impossible for any individual or organisation to do.) However, I do as much as I can to protect your data both on and offline and I strongly suggest that you do the same. I carefully select the third party software which I use to communicate and conduct counselling sessions with you, and I reserve the right to change the platforms we use if their privacy settings change making them unsuitable for delivering therapeutic work. I will offer you advice on how to protect your confidentiality when engaging in online counselling. I recommend using strong passwords for all accounts you use to connect with me, and changing them regularly. I recommend only sending me information about yourself by encrypted means (not doing so is the electronic equivalent of sending a postcard written in pencil). All my emails to you are sent in encrypted format and I use Frama RMail software which gives you the option to reply to me in encrypted format without any charge or need to register for an account yourself.

Do you tell my doctor that I am having counselling sessions?

No, your doctor is not routinely told that you are having counselling sessions and any sessions you have with me will not be recorded on your NHS record (or the equivalent in the country where you are based). It is not usually recommended for someone to see two (or more) counsellors at the same time so if you know that your doctor has referred you for counselling elsewhere then it is advisable to tell them that you are already receiving counselling sessions with me. You can then discuss with them whether you need extra support at this time. Likewise if you are already seeing another counsellor, or know that your doctor has already referred you for counselling and you are waiting for an appointment, please let me know when you.

Are you available in an emergency?

It is sometimes possible to set up an emergency counselling session at short notice but it will depend on my availability. If you are in crisis and need support with your mental health right now then you can find details of some organisations which you can contact on the Urgent Help webpage.

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