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 or ring me on 051873536 if you would like any further information or if you would like to make an appointment.  

Friday, March 6, 2020

Telephone and Online Counselling

Scheduled telephone and video/online counselling sessions are available to provide appropriate and consistent care to anyone struggling with stress, anxiety, depression or any other mental health concerns at this very difficult time.  It is possible to have a free ten minute test session to see if you feel comfortable with having your counselling session through one of these methods.

Counselling can assist you in supporting your emotional and mental wellbeing during this challenging time. It can help you to prepare and empower you to cope.

It can provide reassurance and motivation to develop coping strategies that work for you.
It can help you to identify and deal with unhelpful thought patterns and emotions.
It can help you to stay grounded and calm when facing the COVID-19 challenges.  It can help to lift your mood and help you to grow resilience and confidence.  It provides access to a supportive, ethical, safe and respectful practice which is essential during these times of uncertainty.   
Please contact me for further details. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Laya Healthcare

I am now registered with Laya Healthcare.  My clients may be eligible for a partial refund if they are a member with Laya healthcare and they have the relevant level of cover.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Three ways to happiness

There are many ways of understanding human well-being, but perhaps the most simple and useful is to think in terms three different approaches. In other words, if you want to find happiness, there are three different routes you can take.
First of all, there is doing. There are certain activities you can engage in that are highly likely to bring you well-being. You can have contact with nature, for example. You can practice altruism, kindness, and generousity to the people around you. You can exercise, spend more time socializing, and ensure there are activities in your life that will provide you with "flow"—the state of intense absorption, which comes when we engage with challenging and stimulating activities. You can also try to ensure there are goals in your life to engage you and for you to work toward. In this way, the path of doing is clearly a very effective way of bringing well-being into your life.
Secondly, there is thinking. You can bring more well-being into your life by changing the way you think. You can learn to think positively rather than negatively. You can identify your "scripts" of repetitive negative thoughts and replace them with more rational thinking patterns. You can learn to interpret events positively and train yourself to see the future in an optimistic light. And perhaps most importantly of all, you can cultivate a sense of gratitude and appreciation. You can learn to value aspects of your life that you used to take for granted, such as the people in your life, your health, the social conditions you live in (such as the peacefulness and stability of your life), and even the fact of being alive itself.
The third approach is happiness through being. There is a well-being we experience whenever our inner-being—or consciousness—is in a relatively quiet or empty state. We experience this when we stop striving to achieve things or when we stop living in the future and give our full attention to our experience in the present. We often experience it in the countryside, when the stillness and beauty of nature have the effect of relaxing and slowing down our minds, filling us with a sense of ease and aliveness. We might experience it when we go running or swimming—even though we might feel physically tired, we’re glowing with a vibrant energy and inner calm and wholeness. It might happen during or after meditation, yoga, or a period of playing or listening to music.
In these moments we feel in a positive, contented state without knowing exactly why. We feel happy without necessarily having any reason to be happy. We don’t feel happy because something good has happened to us or because we have something to look forward to. We feel happy just because a tangible energetic sense of well-being is inside us. It’s almost as if the energy we sense within us in these moments—the energy of our being or consciousness—has a natural quality of well-being.
This is the "well-being of being" itself, which you can cultivate by developing inner quietness, by giving yourself the opportunity to "withdraw" from activity and external stimuli for a while, and allowing your mind to slow down and empty. Probably the best way to do this is to meditate or practice other meditative-type activities such as swimming, running, tai chi, or yoga. Meditation will allow you not only to experience this well-being on a temporary basis, but it will help you to "touch into it" on an ongoing, long-term basis too. The happiness of being also comes from living mindfully, giving our full attention to our experience in the present rather than immersing our attention in "thought-chatter" based on the future or on alternate realities.
In my view, these three approach to happiness are equally important, and they should be cultivated in parallel. As well as changing out lives by introducing activities that bring well-being and learning to think in a more positive and appreciative way, we should also aim to cultivate the inner, spiritual well-being described above. In positive psychology—the field of psychology that investigates human well-being and flourishing—inner spiritual well-being isn't given much attention. Positive psychologists almost exclusively focus on the "doing" and "thinking" approaches. But the happiness of being is very important too. In fact, in some ways it's possibly the most significant approach to happiness, because it suggests that well-being is actually natural to us, and it's something that we only need to allow to express itself, rather than attain.
Steve Taylor(link is external), Ph.D. is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, UK. He is the author of Back to Sanity and The Fall.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

A person may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, he or she has felt sad, down or miserable most of the time or has lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and has also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories below.
It’s important to note that everyone experiences some of these symptoms from time to time and it may not necessarily mean a person is depressed. Equally, not every person who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms.


  • not going out anymore
  • not getting things done at work/school
  • withdrawing from close family and friends
  • relying on alcohol and sedatives
  • not doing usual enjoyable activities
  • unable to concentrate


  • overwhelmed
  • guilty
  • irritable
  • frustrated
  • lacking in confidence
  • unhappy
  • indecisive
  • disappointed
  • miserable
  • sad


  • 'I’m a failure.'
  • 'It’s my fault.'
  • 'Nothing good ever happens to me.'
  • 'I’m worthless.'
  • 'Life’s not worth living.'
  • 'People would be better off without me.'


  • tired all the time
  • sick and run down
  • headaches and muscle pains
  • churning gut
  • sleep problems
  • loss or change of appetite
  • significant weight loss or gain
If you think that you, or someone you know, may have depression, there is a quick, easy and confidential checklist you can complete to give you more insight. The checklist will not provide a diagnosis – for that you need to see a health professional. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Declaration of Self esteem

My Declaration of Self Esteem

I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it -- I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me.

By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know -- but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.

--- From Self Esteem by Virginia Satir

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Autobiography in five chapters


Autobiography in five chapters
by Portia Nelson

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall is a habit.
My eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Journey

The Journey

Success sometimes seems like a collection of products, or a place that you can get to or buy.

When we are small we think we will be happy when we can finally turn over or walk or go to school. 

Then it’s being old enough to date or drive or finish school - that really feels like success.

Some people think success is getting married. That’s when they’ll really be happy. 

Or that real happiness comes when a baby finally arrives.

Maybe we’ll be sucessful and happy when we get that job or promotion, or when the kids finally leave home and we can have some peace. 

Success might be when the house is finished or when we retire.
The “golden years” - that’s it.  That’s when we reach success.

Success is every minute you live. 

It’s the process of living. 

It’s stopping for the moments of beauty, of pleasure: the moments of peace. 

Success is not a destination that you ever reach. 

Success is the quality of the journey.