Accessing counselling online (also known as e-therapy or teletherapy) has become a really great alternative to traditional in-person therapy.
It isn't for everyone. But if travel, accessibility, working patterns, child-care or other restrictions make accessing face to face support difficult, then online therapy may be a good option to consider.
I offer a number of ways to access online therapy:
Zoom - web meeting or audio (camera off)
I have worked with children via Zoom web, teenagers, adults and grandparents in their 70's. It can be daunting for lots of different reasons, but e-therapy can offer the same depth of psychological connection, support and well-being as in-person work.
You can do it from a room at home, whilst out walking (if it's a quiet area), in your car - as long as you are somewhere you feel comfortable to talk openly, where you won't be overheard so we can ensure confidentiality. It is difficult for me to ensure your environment is confidential when we are working remotely so this is something that would need careful consideration from you.
There is more information below about each of the online ways of working to give you a better idea of what to expect:
Zoom - web and/or audio
Many more people are using zoom now for school, work, social connections. But, if you have never used it, don't be put off. It's safe, private and simple to use.
You don't need an account or to sign up to anything specific. I will send you a link (via email or text) to a private zoom room. There is no cost to you to access zoom links that I send.
If you want to be seen, you will need to have a webcam attached to your device or have an in-built camera. If you don't want to be seen, I can set up the meeting so your camera is off, but mine will be on so you can see me at all times.
Working on a laptop - you would click the link and it will take you into an online waiting room, at the agreed time of our appointment, I will bring you into the room and then 'lock' it so nobody is able to join.
Working on a phone/tablet - you will need to download the zoom app from your usual app store (Play Store for android or App Store for apple devices)
You might find it useful to wear headphones for the session, especially if you have people around you but also to help focus the sound.
I use an application called VSee. You would create an account too, it is free and simple and you won't be inundated with lots of marketing/publicity materials.
We would agree a day/time for our meeting and both log onto VSee ready to start. Instead of verbally sharing, we 'talk' over instant message.
You can see the history of our chat stream, this can be helpful if you want to go back over something to reflect on it, or to remind yourself of a technique or tool we might have discussed.
This can also be a really useful medium to use if you are concerned about people overhearing you in your session.
It works on any device, phone, tablet, laptop etc.
This style of counselling can be helpful when you can't fit in regular counselling appointments. It can also help to reduce any feelings of awkwardness being on a camera, or in verbal contact with someone because there is more time for you to write your email and receive, read and digest my reply.
The general process for email therapy is that after making our counselling agreement outlining things such as how often we would 'meet', you would send me your first email. It can include anything you wish. I will then spend a full hour responding to you and send you my reply within 48 hours (M-F) of receiving your email. It can sound a bit unusual, but email therapy can have other benefits such as:
giving you time and space to think about what you want to say and proper time to reflect on my reply
you've always got a 'record' of our session because it's all in writing between you and I so it can be useful as something to look back on or re-read
seeing things written down and reading them is received differently in the brain than when two people are in conversation, so this can offer a different way of perceiving/viewing/hearing things, which can in turn help with progression/change/adjustment
We can 'meet' this way weekly, fortnightly or monthly, whichever you felt more appropriate.
Keeping emails secure is very important, particularly if you are going to share personal information, thoughts and feelings, so I would ask you to get a protonmail account set up if we were going to work together in this way. It's free and it's very secure => https://protonmail.com/signup
This is simply me calling you at an agreed day and time and we hold our session over the phone. Again, it is very important that you are in a safe, quiet and private space so you can feel comfortable to explore what is bringing you to therapy.
If you feel like chatting about any of these options or have further questions about online therapy, pop me a message (email/text) or give me a call; I'd be happy to talk with you about this without any obligation to move forward.