More recently online therapy and telephone counselling has become the preferred mode of counselling for lots of therapists and clients alike. 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/friends house if necessary), and at a time which affords you maximum privacy. It is important you ensure that your environment allows you physical and emotional safety so you can express yourself freely and have a beneficial online session.
The most important thing is to have privacy. 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. If you can, settle into a nice, comfortable chair. A workspace, if you have it, is best. Try to arrange yourself in as session-like a position as you can.
Have a box of tissues next to where you will be working and perhaps a glass of water in case you need one. Please avoid snacking or having a 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 person.
Please 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. 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.
You will need some time to get ready for the work we are about to do. Try to leave yourself 10-15 minutes before and after the session for a walk, some simple stretching or some time to think. This will enable you to transition both into and out of the space, before diving into into whatever you have next.
I have a duty to comply with the Data Protection Act and to safeguard you from unauthorised disclosure of your personal information. I use Zoom, but if you prefer to use a different platform that is less secure (e.g. Whatsapp), 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.