I have always been a face-to-face counsellor but like everyone, am having to move with the rapidly changing, and sometimes alarming, times.
So what to expect from online counselling? Well, probably the most important thing is that it can offer the same level of support and confidentiality as face-to-face counselling. For security both the platform I will be using, Zoom, and my laptop have end-to-end encryption. Recording functionality will be disabled, and meetings will be password protected to prevent unauthorised participants from entering.
Some people prefer online counselling because they can be in the familiarity of a setting of their own choosing. It can also be incredibly beneficial for those who are housebound; whether you are a carer, have no child care facilities, or are too worried to go out. Making contact and reaching out are even more important when we feel isolated. Having the chance to talk to someone who is not family or who will not take offence can help us unburden and feel lighter. However, it is important for your own confidentiality that you cannot be overheard and will not be disturbed.
If you wanted online counselling you could contact me in the usual way: email, phone or text, and we would negotiate a mutually convenient time to ‘meet’ online, just like a regular counselling session. Certain formalities will need to be covered first in regard to GDPR, contract, payment of fees; and this aspect is probably best covered by email.
Do I need any special equipment? All you will need is an internet connection and either iPad, tablet, smartphone or laptop. Before the session it would be beneficial if you download Zoom from the Appstore or Playstore, and I would then send you a meeting ID and password. Most devices have built in webcams, but if not you would need to buy one.
One final point I would like to mention, is that with face-to-face counselling you as client usually get the journey home to process the session. With online counselling you could be suddenly plunged back into the world of you. Try if possible to take a break between the session and going back on with your day.
If this is something you think would be beneficial to you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.