Online counselling can be conducted via email, text, phone and video calling.
Telehealth began fifty years ago and has developed substantially in that time to incorporate the most recent development in technology and communications.
I offer telephone and video-call counselling when face to face sessions are unavailable.
My preferred method is via the telephone, I feel for both of us we can feel the empathy in the relationship we create better than via video calling.
However, I have had good success with video calling too and some of my clients prefer it to telephone because you can see me so during our initial thirty minute free consultation session via my vSee clinic or on the telephone we can establish our way of working.
If over time you would like to swap to the other method, we can do that. We could also trial one method one week and the other the following session. This is about working out what fits for our working relationship.
I am offering online counselling using video calling via software that is encrypted: vSee. You can reliably use on your smart phone and PC. It means that our conversation is not recorded and the dialogue is being encrypted as we talk.
Does it really work online?
There have been studies published that advocate its benefits, including patients reporting ‘high levels of satisfaction’ in a review by The World Journal of Psychiatry and a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which found that online CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) effectively reduced symptoms of depression and other mental health issues amongst participants.
Meeting online means that there is no travel time to and from therapy to factor in.
Sessions are more available and can be attended in circumstances that otherwise might not be possible like the coronavirus.
If you travel a lot you can fit sessions in.
If it is difficult to leave the house, you can keep our appointments.
If you want to fit things in between meetings.
If you live in a neighbourhood, you may be worried that you will run into your therapist outside of your therapy session, or that you may be connected to your therapist through other acquaintances. In this case, scheduling an online counselling session with a therapist who lives in a different location may give you more peace of mind.
What do I need?
You need to have a private, quiet space, where you can sit undisturbed for an hour. Even though our sessions are fifty minutes I find that it can be more demanding for clients so plan in that ten minutes to breath, settle, have an extra howl or feel gratitude or the warmth of empathy.
For video calling, you’ll need a pc/mobile, a phone line, internet connection and depending on your camera situation a webcam.
Please be aware that if each participant in the conversation has the most up to date software, hardware and internet connection then the likelihood of line interruption, picture disturbance and audio cut out will be low. In my experience, we often don’t have matching compatible equipment so we may experience one or two interruptions each session. I can handle those disturbances to sessions and don’t find it interrupts the flow of the topic we are discussing very much. Additionally, our rural location in Norfolk, UK means that the signal can be less reliable depending on what the weather is like. Those of you Overseas, it’s really a thing!
For telephone work you will require a land line and a telephone. Or a mobile. My experience is that there is more reliability in the humble wired landline but I am happy with mobile phone communication.
Is it confidential and secure?
I take confidentiality very seriously. I keep your notes in a secure database that is password protected and requires EVERY time a one-time pass code to gain access.
The video calling software I use is encrypted end-to-end which means our conversation is being erased as we speak and move on with our conversation. It is not recorded or stored anywhere. My wifi is password protected and my pc, firewalls, security software are all up to date. I have the latest update on my mobile phone in case we need to use that method.
Of course total security does not exist in the digital world but we can do our best to make sure that everything is as up to date as we believe it to be.
Before committing to a video calling agreement, I will expect you to not record our conversation and respect the level of confidentiality that I work to.