What is Online Counselling?
Online counselling provides an opportunity to explore a personal difficulty in a confidential and supportive environment. This may include expressing feelings that are painful, and which many of us experience at certain times in our lives. When this happens, it can be difficult to stay positive and cope with everyday life. Online counselling gives you the opportunity to access counselling support at a time and in a place which is convenient to you.
What sort of issues can I contact you about?
Online counselling may be able to help with a very wide range of issues including, anxiety, stress, depression, eating difficulties, loneliness, relationship problems, bereavement, self-esteem, sexual orientation, discrimination, pet bereavement, and many more.
What does the service offer?
Together we will agree which type of online therapy might best suit you, whether that's via email, Instant Message, voice only or webcam. If this is your first experience of therapy or of online therapy, it may be that you decide during our sessions you'd like to try an alternative medium, and that's fine too. We'll work together to find the most comfortable form of communicating for you.
Payment for your sessions
Session fees are currently £60.00 per counselling hour. The initial appointment will include some further assessment questions to help my understanding of how I can help you find a way forward with what has brought you to counselling.
The Payment of 60.00 for your session is due a minimum of 24 hours prior to the appointment time, using bank transfer. If you have made payment for a session but are unable to meet at the appointed time I will retain the fee for the session unless we have experienced a technological breakdown which prevents us meeting online or exchanging emails. In the event of this occurring we would discuss how to re-arrange the scheduled appointment.
About the way I work
I will provide, to the best of my ability, online counselling sessions that endeavour to create a supportive, non-judgmental environment, in which you will be given time and space to understand and gain insight into what is troubling you. This process can foster growth and lead to positive change in your life. I will not be in a position to offer advice. There may be occasions where I ask questions about what you have stated on your application form or during a therapy session. This is to help seek a clearer view of your difficulty or to clarify a misunderstanding in our communication. You are free to ignore my questions and responses, or alternatively spend time between sessions exchanges reflecting on them.
‘Online’ counselling is different to face-to-face work as misunderstandings may occur due to a lack of usual facial expressions and tone of voice. It is therefore important for us both to feel comfortable to ask for clarification if we are unsure of something we say or refer to within our exchanges and leads to a misunderstanding or rupture in the counselling relationship occurring.
Is Online Counselling Right For Me?
Online counselling can provide support for a broad range of personal difficulties, but there are occasions where it would not be considered suitable, for example, where a client is at risk. If this applies to you either when applying for support, or during ongoing sessions I will offer information of alternative sources of support. If you are in crisis and feeling suicidal your needs are best met via face to face counselling. If you require immediate support contact your GP, local out of hours GP service or present yourself to your local accident and emergency department. If you have a severe mental health issue such as psychosis your needs are also best meet through face to face counselling.
If I feel online counselling would not be appropriate for you, I'll work with you to help you find a more suitable source of support.
Please note I am not able to provide online counselling to anyone who is under the age of 18 or who is in crisis. If this applies to you I can help with information on referral to other agencies providing face to face counselling services who offer crisis support, or if you are under 18, to online services which are specifically directed to a younger age group.
Visit www.samaritans.org or phone number 116 123 . You can also contact NHS 111 for additional help.
Confidentiality, Security, and Data Protection
The content of your emails or online appointments will not be communicated with a third party except for the purposes of supervision of my work. In this instance, your identity will not be revealed, and the presenting issues are discussed in a general context, to help ensure I am working ethically and safely with clients. I strongly recommend that online clients use an encrypted email server for sending and receiving email exchanges when engaging with counselling, this helps to ensure that our communication will not be intercepted by a third party. A free and secure email provider is www.protonmail.com. My protonmail address is: [email protected] All contact after our initial communication would be via this email provider.
In respect of online counselling via email, SMS and webcam, the UK police force and other international government authorities can ask for access to an individual’s email account or synchronous messaging account where there is suspicion of illegal activities. On this basis I am not able to guarantee confidentiality in circumstances which lead to access being granted.
At the end of our counselling agreement copies of our exchanges will be stored securely offline for a period of 7 years and then destroyed by shredding after this time. I am a registered Data Controller and Data Processor and abide by the regulations imposed by such procedures. My registration number is:Z9440927.
What information is kept about me and who has access?
As the Data Controller and data Processor I maintain and store brief notes relating to your sessions. I will not share this data with someone other than yourself, unless required by a court of law. Under GDPR you have the right to request a copy of session records. Where requested by you these will be within 30 days in electronic format, Under GDPR you have the right to ask for records to be amended if you feel they are inaccurate. If you wish to ask for an amendment or if you raise objection to any data kept by me, such objection will be stored with the original session notes.
How is my information stored?
The Client agreement /assessment form you will complete before we start our sessions and any brief session notes will be stored on a hard drive which is password protected and any paper notes stored in a locked cabinet.
Any electronic contact we have during the process of assessment and ongoing sessions will be deleted from my computer at the end of our agreed work together. Your phone number may be stored anonymously on my phone if we engage with ‘real time ‘ sessions using Vsee or Whatsapp and is deleted at the end of the counselling contract.