Online counselling

Currently, all my services have been migrated to be online only.

Below you can find information on how we will work together therapeutically in a remote way.

What is remote or online counselling?

There are many names that describe the offering of counselling or therapy online. Some of the most common are online therapy, remote therapy or virtual therapy, internet counselling, remote counselling or e-counselling, distance or web therapy. It can be via phone call, video call or email. Sometimes it is also known as text therapy as it may also involve phone messaging.

At the moment I work solely as an online counsellor offering phone or video sessions.

Research suggests that online therapy generate equal positive outcomes of those who attended face to face therapy.

Why should you contact an online psychotherapist?

Aside from the present exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic, there are many valid reasons to have an online counsellor.

Here are some:

  • you feel a bit shy about starting with in-person therapy
  • you need flexibility around your busy life
  • you may find difficult to afford childcare, but you can spare 50 min for yourself from home
  • you cannot or don’t want travel
  • you prefer a bit of more control on the process
  • you might have many other good reasons relevant to you only

What is an assessment?

The assessment is a process that is done by both of us before commencing therapy.

It supports us to decide if:

  • Online Therapy or In-person Therapy is the right choice for you
  • I am the right therapist for you
  • We both think that working together will benefit you and in which way (Psychodynamically, CBT)
  • Whether or not you may get better assistance from other organisations/professionals, and should this be the case I will help you in this

The assessment process begins with an initial brief call, following which an Online Assessment Pack that contains some questions and a couple of questionnaires will be sent to a secure mail for you to complete before our initial appointments. I usually allow for one or two appointments of 50 minutes each for assessment.

In accordance with present professional bodies, NHS, government recommendations, guidance and rules, yours and my sense of safety, if possible and allowed we may decide to meet in-person for this initial phase. See the page on in-person counselling for more info about that.

During these meetings I will more questions about you, your mental health history, your reasons for coming to therapy and what you hope to gain from therapy. This is also an opportunity for you to reflect on whether you would like to work with me.

It can be difficult to predict how long therapy will take, it really depends on your needs, situation and story.

Assessment is also an ongoing process that we will do together as well as when therapy is commenced. Consider it as a ‘touch base’ moment during our work. I may use questionnaires, but most of the time it will be a conversation.

Sometimes, after starting therapy we may decide to meet in-person so that we can ‘touch base’ time to time when we will jointly agree on that.
A note on privacy: I ask all of my clients to fill out an Online Assessment Pack and sign my Privacy Policy to process the information your info. To guarantee your privacy, please create a ProtonMail account to send this pack to me. ProtonMail email accounts ensure end-to-end encryption is maintained throughout all our communication. An account can be created here https://protonmail.com.   

When online therapy is NOT recommended?

There are circumstances when online therapy is not appropriate: in case of acute crisis; high level of suicide risk; or severe mental health issues, for example people with current symptoms of psychosis or significant vulnerability to relapse due to history of psychosis (unless diagnosis doubtful or a long time ago with considerable period of stability since), or people with bipolar affective disorder / borderline or antisocial personality disorder.

Such needs will be better met elsewhere by a specialist service. It is always best to talk with your GP and I will recommend you do so if this is the case.

How can I access online counselling?

We will schedule our therapy time which can be via Skype, WhatsApp facetime, Zoom or phone call. During our initial call we will think about your options and preferences.

I will also ask you to fill in some details before our session. It is my strict policy to work only if those details have been gathered prior to the first meeting.

What do you need?

You can use your phone, iPad or computer (PC or Mac). I usually recommend using headsets as they help to keep privacy. A good internet connection is needed for Skype, WhatsApp and Zoom calls. In case of interruptions due to connection issues, don’t worry, we will have already worked out a plan B.

Where?

Please allow yourself to find a quiet and private place from where you will call or log in.

However, I do empathise with the current circumstances caused by the pandemic and certainly, there is room for flexibility in such moments of crisis. We can discuss how to find the right place in our initial call.

Better not

Please do not take another call halfway through or engage in other activities like watching TV, eating etc.

Time to call

When it is time to get in touch with me in the agreed manner, I will be waiting for you to initiate the session.

Please be aware that at the beginning of each session I will enquire where you are for safety reasons.

The session time will be 50 minutes long, just the same as personal face to face ones.

If you join later, the session will come to an end at the same time.

Towards the end of your therapy time

You will be reminded when it is time for the session to end.

After our session, make sure you have closed the app that relates to our time together to maintain our privacy from other people in your environment.

A note on technological interruptions

Interruptions may happen during our remote sessions together; we both agree that we will be active in trying to minimise this.

Shall we have problems in connecting, please wait a couple of minutes and try to get in touch again with me e.g. after restarting the video app.

We will agree in advance on an alternative way to get in touch if the video call stalls or if reception on a phone call is lost, e.g. another phone number.

If this still doesn’t work, I will contact you to arrange a new date for the session and you will not be charged for the current session.

On privacy

If you wish you can familiarise on how I use your personal info, the downloadable version of my Privacy Policy and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Ver III is available here.

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