While the Covid-19 crisis has forced us to pause our face-to-face work and move to online media, there are many reasons why online therapy may be suitable for you at any time.
- For practical reasons, such as your inability to travel due to time or distance constraints.
- When travelling outside your home may be difficult for you due to physical illness or disability.
- Sometimes feelings of anxiety or depression can be so overwhelming that it is difficult to leave our homes.
- Or we can feel shame or embarrassment, and find that meeting our therapist via video, phone, email or text, is much easier for us than meeting face to face.
If you are considering working online with a therapist, it is important to make sure they are trained and qualified to work in this way. While online therapy has many similarities with face-to-face therapy, it is not the same, and while it can have many benefits, there are also some areas of caution to be aware of. I am specially qualified as a Certified Cyber Therapist, having trained at the Online Therapy Institute, and as such have particular knowledge and skills in working in this area.
How we work
I will discuss here the different options for how we might work together in this way. In all cases, you will have contacted me via my website, by email or phone/text to enquire and we will have had an introductory discussion to find out what you are looking for in therapy, and my suitability to work with you.
If you are happy to go ahead, you can choose from the following online media.
This is the most popular choice for many clients, as it is the ‘closest’ to face-to-face work.
Once we have agreed that we will work this way (following email or phone correspondence), we will arrange a session day and time and, in advance of us working together, I will send you a contract, an information sheet with details regarding the technology we will be using, and associated confidentiality policies. I will then set up our video meeting using securely encrypted platforms (Doxy.me or Zoom). You will receive an invitation to the meeting, which, at the time of our session, you simply click on to join, and we will start. Some clients request to use Skype or FaceTime; I am happy to work with you in this way on the understanding that our data may not be secure on these platforms.
You will need a good Internet connection and it is really important that you are able to find a suitable place to have your session: somewhere safe, quiet, and where no one can interrupt and listen in. It is important that you feel able to speak freely. Some clients prefer to use a headset for this purpose. I will be holding our online session from my therapy room, the same place each week; no one else can hear our conversation, and as mentioned above, our video platform in securely encrypted.
With all technologies there is a possibility that we may have the odd glitch that will interrupt our session. We will agree in advance for our procedure should this happen.
Audio sessions are usually carried out on the phone, and despite the lack of visuals, or indeed because of them, it is possible to carry out really deep and productive work this way.
Once we have agreed to work on the phone, we can discuss the details. Landlines are the most secure, or we can use an encrypted mobile phone service. If you are happy to use your mobile phone, being aware that the data is not encrypted, I am happy to work with you that way.
As with video calls, it is very important that you are able to be in a safe, quiet place where no one can interrupt and listen in. Headphones can be helpful here, and also to stop you getting a stiff neck!
There are several different types of email therapy that you can choose from, depending on what you find the most helpful way to work. It is important to note that this kind of work is not suitable for those who are in crisis.
You can write me a letter, and within an agreed time (usually a 48 hour window), I will reply to you with my own letter, responding to yours. Clients can particularly like this way of working as it gives them a freedom to write whenever they want, and as things come up for them.
Or, we can agree a session time and day, and as with face-to-face, video or audio sessions, we keep this same session time each week. You will send me your email by the start of our session, and I will then reply, paragraph by paragraph, responding to what you bring up, before returning it to you by the end of the session.
In both instances, clients can find it very helpful to be able to keep the responses to be able to re-read throughout the week. To make sure that our work is confidential, I use Hushmail, an encrypted email service, but we can discuss other options if you would prefer to use them and are aware of the security or the data.
This is quite a fancy term for mixing all or any of the above (as well as face-to-face when that becomes available to us again). You may find that you would like to start using one method, and then change depending on how you are feeling or your circumstances. It can feel like viewing something from a series of different lenses.
Please do get in touch if you would like more information about any of the above services.