Looking for online therapy sessions?
The internet has changed many aspects of our lives, and an increasing number of people use technology to complete tasks online, without the need to leave home. Although it would be hard to imagine talking therapy sessions without some form of one-to-one human interaction, modern counselling is not immune to these changes. So, if you are looking for therapy but don’t want to attend a traditional face-to-face session with a counsellor, online counselling may be the answer.
In light of COVID-19 my counselling sessions are currently via phone or video session only, using Zoom (similar to Skype).
What is counselling online?
The term online counselling can be used to cover any number of web-based interactions including email, IM and web chat, but we are looking here at the most versatile form of online therapy, video conferencing. It’s a confusing term, because it might suggest you are signing up for some sort of group therapy or need expensive equipment and technical knowledge to make things work. Although that’s not true anymore (most video conferencing will work perfectly well from a laptop, tablet or smartphone) it might explain why people associate video conferencing with one platform – Skype.
Is Skype suitable for online therapy?
While it’s true Skype has become a market leaders in video conferencing, some organisations recognise it’s not perfect for therapy. In the UK, the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO) assert that using Skype for counselling sessions should be avoided because of doubts over the platform’s handling of personal information, and the way it uses this to target users with adverts. To some extent Skype was designed to enable sharing, and it uses your contact lists to help with this. This is fine for social networking purposes, but it raises doubts about the suitability of Skype when used in counselling. Even though conversations are encrypted, in their recent guidance notes for online therapists, ACTO points out these conversations are stored by Skype for thirty days after the session has ended. This raises another consideration – because individuals are not given control about over how their information is handled, Skype may not be fully compliant with European GDPR legislation.
What’s the alternative?
It’s largely because of these concerns that ACTO advises its own registered therapists not to use the platform. Instead it recommends Zoom, which offers a free (for the client) and easy to use alternative. A simple link is generated for each session and no information is shared with third parties. Zoom is also compliant with the HIPAA standards for the correct handling of health information within the U.S. It’s also why I have decided to use the platform as my default method when offering counselling online.
How does online counselling work?
If you are thinking about therapy, either online using Skype or Zoom or via more traditional face-to-face counselling, the first step is the same. Just get in touch by phone on 07824 385338 or by using the online form on my contact page. I work in Walsall, Willenhall and Sutton Coldfield, although location is not so important if you opt for a completely online approach. We can discuss your requirements and expectations, and if you think online counselling will work for you, will arrange your first therapy session. I will send you an email showing the date and time for your session, and a simple link to click to join. All you need is a computer with a microphone and a camera (laptops have these), or a smartphone or other internet enabled device, such as a tablet.
If you would like to know more about therapy, then please read my article on What Happens in Counselling. If you require any more information then please get in touch.