Friday, October 2, 2020

Online and Telephone Counselling - An Introduction


Online and Telephone Counselling - An Introduction

Online and Telephone Counselling follows the same fundamental principles as face-to-face counselling. They provide a secure alternative if circumstances prevent us from meeting in person. The confidentiality and security of your therapy remains central to all parts of the process.

As the coronavirus social-distancing and self-isolation restrictions mean that many counsellors and clients are currently unable to continue meeting face-to-face, I am offering clients the option to have online counselling using an established, secure platform used by many online therapists. Telephone Counselling is also provided.

You may find the process of communicating from your own protected safe space very helpful in itself. Some clients say they actually find it easier to talk about some things when they're not the in the same room as their therapist (although this may not be the case for everyone).

It may feel strange to work without the same ‘cues’ that arise when we are in the same room together and you may find this unusual at first. In direct face-to-face communication we pick up information from facial expressions, voice tone, body language, which may be less obvious when working online.  It can take time to adjust to having sessions via video link.  Some people feel more at ease with speaking in their own familiar surroundings and prefer this way of working.  Likewise with telephone counselling some clients may prefer it and they may feel it easier to speak when they are not being seen.  It also saves time with not having to travel to the counselling practice. 

Preparing for your online counselling session

Plan your session for a time when you know you can have privacy.  Ideally find a quiet comfortable private room away from any distractions so that you do not need to worry about noise or being overheard or interrupted during your online or telephone therapy session.  

Our work together is confidential. I ensure that all information is kept safe and protected. I ask that you do the same. We agree that no recordings will be made by either of us. It is important that we both take confidentiality very seriously and that you take personal responsibility for your own computer security.  Let me know straight away if you have any concerns that the security and confidentiality of our sessions is or has been compromised. 

 

Make sure that your computer or phone internet connection is set up and working properly in advance of your session.  Good quality internet connection means that your online therapy session won’t be interrupted. To help improve your internet connection and network speed close down all other applications on your PC. This will also prevent you from being distracted by any PC notifications, messages or pop-ups during the session. Tips on setting up your connection are given before the session. 

  

Visually it’s important that your therapist can see you clearly during your online video sessions. It can be helpful to be in a bright room or have a desk lamp close to your laptop or device to improve lighting quality around your face and upper body. Good quality lighting can enhance the communication and connection between us and allow for a better sense of eye contact. 

Using earphones or headphones will greatly improve the privacy and quality of our conversation for both of us. They will ensure that we can hear each other clearly and helps drown out any distracting background noise. Wearing earphones can help keep you more focused during sessions. They may take some time to get used to at first, if it feels difficult to adjust to using them you can change to ones that feel more comfortable.  I will be using them also for your privacy.

In the possible event of poor internet connection or a PC crashing which can happen unexpectedly on the day, please try to reconnect and keep your telephone with you and I will ring you to continue the session over the phone or to reschedule if we cannot reconnect.

Clients want to get the most out of their online or telephone therapy session so it’s important that you can really talk openly and let your therapist understand your world. Therapeutic relationship building is an essential and important part of effective therapy. The more comfortable you are during your session the more you will be able to relax and open up about how you are really feeling.  If there is anything that you are uncomfortable about please let me know. 

Your session times are important and this is your “space”. Being prepared is an important part of therapy. Ensuring that you are comfortable, having a safe and private space to work from is important. All sessions are 50 minutes long and are conducted at an agreed time. Find yourself a comfortable space to sit for the session, whatever works for you. Some clients use diaries or notebooks for note taking and sharing during sessions.  It may help to have your session in your car if you do not have a private space in the house.  If possible have a chair that you can get up from at the end of the session as if you are leaving the counselling room. It is also important to be able to give yourself a bit of time and space after each session. Therapy uses energy and can bring up a range of emotions. From being immersed in the session you are instantly back in your normal life with whatever feelings and demands it had before. Ensuring that you have some time for yourself after a session can be helpful. 

Part of the therapy process involves regular reviews between yourself and your therapist. This is to ensure that work is progressing and that you are still getting what you need from the sessions. All therapy comes to an end at some point. Regular reviews help with appropriately planned endings as this is an important part of the therapy process.  If you decide to leave the session before the end of the session please let me know that you intend leaving.

Online and Telephone therapy are talk therapies and are not prescriptive. I work in a non directive way but I will ask questions to help you to explore your situation and feelings. The first few sessions are about you having the space to talk openly and freely about your circumstances so that both you and your therapist can assess and get a better understanding of the situation or problem before any coping strategies are explored. Talking and expressing yourself is therapeutic and healing and is a large part of the therapeutic process. We may agree on some homework to be done between sessions.   

Please email me at monicajackmancounselling@protonmail.com or ring me on 051873536 if you would like any further information or if you would like to make an appointment.  

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