Different to Face to Face Counselling
If you have had face to face counselling before then you will find online therapy very different. Unlike f2f work online counselling has an absence of visual and auditory cues and can sometimes evoke a misunderstanding in communication.
It is very important therefore when using this medium to clarify with the counsellor on what is being said or asked. I would invite clients to do this as asking the therapist to explain more will help to avoid miscommunication. Online counselling is not seen as a substitute for face to face counselling.
In the event of a technological breakdown, where communication is interrupted, I would need a telephone number to contact the client to arrange another appointment or to continue with a telephone session; how ever you would like to proceed.
Online therapy is not recommended for people who have a complex mental health issue or for those who are experiencing suicidal ideation. If you feel you are at crisis point then you should contact your G.P or go to your nearest accident and emergency department. Alternatively you can contact the Samaritans 08457 909090, or email firstname.lastname@example.org; Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, or Befrienders Worldwide helpful links
Email or Instant Messaging?
You have an option of using an asynchronous or synchronous method of online communication?
If you prefer to communicate via email, with a delayed response time, then I advise clients to use an encrypted email server. You would need to set up a Safemail account, which is secure and protected against outside access.
If a synchronous (real time) method of communication is desired, then instant messaging through an encrypted service would be used. Clients will be guided by the counsellor on how to access and set up these accounts.
My first email reply is free. If you are using instant messaging then an initial session of 30 minutes is also free.
When emailing or using real time communication it is best to avoid composing or messaging in public places, like cafes or libraries etc. This will help to ensure confidentiality.
The online therapy I offer is not intended for those under the age of 18, there are services available for this age group, like Kooth, who counsel young people online in certain areas, or visit youngminds helpful links.
*It is important to note that on the suspicion of illegal or terrorist activity the UK police force can ask for access to an email account. If an email provider grants access to the police then confidentiality is not guaranteed.
Before therapy begins, prospective clients are asked to complete an online agreement/assessment. The online agreement includes more detailed information on how to use the service, confidentiality and security. There are also a few questions to answer regarding the reasons counselling is being sought and information about computer literacy etc. This will help me to assess whether online counselling is a suitable means of support for you.
You are advised to read the terms and conditions of online counselling here how it works
If you have an enquiry regarding online counselling via encrypted email or instant messaging then please do get in touch click here to email me.
You can also email me at sarah.williams1@Safe-mail.net