More recently online therapy and telephone counselling has become the preferred mode of counselling for lots of therapists and clients alike due to the risks and restrictions imposed by Covid 19. If you think this might suits you, feel free to get in touch to enquire further.
Online counselling / therapy can offer therapeutic support in a convenient way for clients who may have mobility issues or may be house bound, or who may be time-wise or geographically restricted. Online therapy has the advantage of you being able to do it from the comfort of your own home.
Some Things To Be Aware Of
Due to the nature of online work there is a limit to the amount of support I can offer someone in a crisis. For this reason I only see people who are resident on the Island of Ireland, where I am somewhat familiar with services available. Online counseling may not be suitable if you have an enduring mental illness or are experiencing extreme distress
Clients need to ensure that it is safe for them to engage in online counselling. If you feel that people in your immediate environment may not support this or may intrude on your privacy, you need to consider doing online counselling in a safer/more private environment (e.g. in your car if necessary), or at a time which affords you maximum privacy. It is important you ensure that your environment allows you physical and emotional safety and privacy so you can express yourself freely and have a beneficial online exchange
The most important thing is to have privacy. I do my best to provide that when we meet in my office. At home it’s up to you. Please do everything possible to make sure you are in a private space where it is unlikely you will be heard or interrupted. You may need to ask others in your space to respect your privacy by doing things like turning on entertainment in another room or listening to something on headphones.
Because I am not in a position to respond directly in a crisis situation it is important for you to have access to a local support in the event of an emergency. I will need contact details of a family member/other responsible adult/GP who you are willing for me to contact should the need arise. If you are in crisis please be aware the Samaritans can offer immediate support or call 999 or go to your nearest A&E
Try to make yourself comfortable, but not too comfortable. If you can, settle into a nice, comfortable chair. A workspace, if you have it, is best. Avoid laying in bed or on your TV-watching couch, as well as sitting on the floor or walking around. Try to arrange yourself in as session-like a position as you can
Put a box of tissues next to where you will be. If you want, pour yourself a glass of water. But avoid having a snack or meal even though you may be reasonably close to your kitchen. Leave that for either before or after the session
Please be sure to dress as you would if we were meeting in the office. Even though I may not be able to see you if the session is audio-only, or all of what you are wearing if meeting via video, a reality is that you will know what you are wearing
Turn off or put to sleep all devices other than the one you are using to make the call, including watches, laptops, and other phones. If using a smartphone or computer, do your best to quit from all programs other than the one we are using and turn off all notifications if you can. It is best to leave your hands free by using headphones. If we are using audio-only be sure to put your phone screen-side down. If using a computer for audio-only, please either turn off your monitor or completely darken your screen
Try to leave yourself an additional 15-minutes both before and after the session for a walk, either by going outside and doing something like going around the block (if you are comfortable doing so) or, if staying inside, wandering around your place. If there is no way to take a walk it makes sense to do some simple stretching. It is not a good idea to leave another remote meeting or call or activity requiring focused attention (either work or play) and then immediately calling in to start the session. You will need some time to get ready for the work we are about to do. Similarly, after the session is over take 15 minutes to do the same thing before diving into the next activity. This will give time for the session to resonate before jumping back into whatever you have next
Location is important. Please do your best to always meet from the same place during this period of time, although that is not always possible. Also, when we meet in- person we share the same location. But now we do not. If you find yourself curious about where I am, please feel free to ask. I will do the same so I can imagine where you are
I have a duty to comply with the Data Protection Act and to safeguard you from unauthorised disclosure of your personal information. It is for this reason I prefer not use Skype or Zoom, but prefer to use the secure platform of Wire instead. Wire uses end-to-end encryption and is protected by European privacy laws, which provides a high level of security. If you prefer to use a different platform that is less secure (e.g. Whatsapp, Skype), please be aware that calls can in theory be listened in to. Please do not record our sessions out of respect for both our privacy
You will need a good internet connection for online therapy to be effective. If using your phone please put it on Airplane Mode so we are not interrupted by messages or calls during our session. I will also do this. If a technology breakdown occurs I will try to reconnect after 2-3 mins. In cases where re-connection is not possible, I will call you and we can complete the session on the phone or we can reschedule if you prefer
If you share your computer with others, consider setting up a separate user account so you can increase your security and privacy. Do not share your passwords with others. Always make sure to log out of video call programmes at the end of our session. If this is not an option in your home environment, then consider deleting traces of our sessions if you do not want the people you are living with to know who you are speaking to.