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 Connecting Online to find out more about the practicalities of meeting these ways.
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 think about changes you would like to make in your life. These could be changes to your way of looking at yourself and at the world, at your past and at your future, or they could be practical changes to your daily life. You could choose to talk with me about what changes you would like to make and together we can think through a plan for how these changes could be made, and embedded, so that they stay with you after the counselling sessions have finished.
My style of counselling and psychotherapy* is called Humanistic Integrative. I work with you as a unique person (rather than trying to fit you into a preconceived way of working). I have a pluralistic approach meaning I draw on theory from a number of therapeutic schools of thought including Person Centred, Psychodynamic, CBT, Solution Focused, Gestalt, Mindfulness, Attachment Theory, Systemic Theory and Existential. I consider myself a trauma informed practitioner.
*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.
Can you tell me about your background and qualifications?
I am a humanistic integrative counsellor and psychotherapist with over ten years' experience counselling adults, young people and children. I hold a Master’s degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy from the University of East London and a BACP endorsed Level 6 Certificate in Therapeutic Counselling Supervision from the Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB).
I am a Certified Cyber Therapist and a Certified Clinical Cyber Supervisor, having completed substantial training through the Online Therapy Institute on counselling and supervising online and by telephone.
I am an Accredited Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP Accred) and a Professional Member of the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO).
What is 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 (please see our up to date information on fees). 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 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.
What about for people who are under 18?
I work with young people aged 16 and older. For people under 18, I will only work with you if your parent or legal guardian has given me signed consent. If you are under 18 and you are seeking support but don’t want your parent or guardian to know about it then I recommend contacting either Kooth or The Mix - they are well-established organisations which offer online counselling to young people in the UK for free and don't ask permission from your parents/guardians.
To set up counselling for someone under 18, the young person's parent or legal guardian can contact me or book online to arrange an initial discussion of up to 30 minutes. We can speak by telephone or online video, whichever you prefer. In this conversation we will consider together what is prompting you to seek counselling for your child at the moment, their general situation, what you would like them to gain from the sessions and whether my style of counselling is likely to be helpful for them. The conversation is free of charge.
If you would like to meet with me to discuss any further questions you might have about the counselling process then we can arrange a time/day for a one-off assessment appointment using either telephone, online audio or online video. This assessment appointment lasts for up to 60 minutes and is charged for (please see here for up to date information on fees). It is up to you and your child as to whether they attend this appointment with us or whether you would prefer to meet with me without them present.
Once the paperwork is completed, I will arrange with you a date for an assessment meeting between me and your child, where I will meet with them by themselves. I will discuss with your child what counselling is, how they can use it and what they would like to use their sessions for. I will agree some boundaries with them including confidentiality, time (start and finish of sessions), safety, respect for each other, your child’s hopes for the counselling and their rights to any records kept about them.
All counselling sessions are confidential. This is so that people feel safe to express their worries fully and trust that what they choose to talk about will not be discussed elsewhere without their permission. Parents and guardians are not told about what their child talks about in counselling without their child’s consent. Some parents and guardians find this unusual but it is necessary for counselling to be effective. There are limits to confidentiality: if a child were to claim that they were at risk of serious harm, or that someone else is at risk of serious harm, then appropriate steps would be taken to keep them and others safe. You can view my confidentiality policy and I will discuss confidentiality with you when we speak as well.
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.
What records do you keep?
Brief notes of all sessions are held securely on electronic and paper-based systems, and your data is available for you to view on request. You can view my full Information and Governance Policy and Procedure on the Privacy page (the link is at the bottom of the webpage). I will email a copy of my Accessible Privacy Statement to you in advance of your initial assessment appointment. Paper Plane Counselling Ltd is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and my systems comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Are my sessions confidential?
All counselling sessions are confidential. Please see our Confidentiality Policy for full details of exactly what this means.
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 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 here.