I have completed a General Certificate in Online Counselling with Online Training for Counsellors (OLT). This CPCAB accredited course is essential training for any counsellors wishing to work online with clients.
During my training I learned to work remotely whilst ensuring safely and security for my clients. This training involved learning about internet security and data protection as well as the therapeutic aspects of the online counselling relationship. I am a Person Centred counsellor and I work in a variety of remote ways.
My different methods of online work.
I principally use Zoom for my video calls which is a secure platform with end to end encryption. I will email you a recurring link which is exclusively for your sessions. I employ a virtual waiting room allowing you to sign in for your session and I will then let you in to the ‘room’ at your session start time. This process ensures as much confidentiality and security around your sessions as possible.
Video work is possibly the closet online equivalent to face to face work as we can see each other, we can see expressions and body language.
Phone sessions are in some ways the easiest online work to set up. Phones are familiar to most people and we are experienced at having phone calls. I will generally phone my clients, this way I am taking responsibility for the cost of the call which for some people may be a barrier to accessing phone counselling. If you would prefer to take responsibility for initiating the session by phoning me that is perfectly fine and we can discuss this at our contracting stage.
Instant message (IM Chat):
Instant message may be familiar to you as texting. In this way of working we would agree a chat platform and then have our session through text chat. This is a very good way of working for people who have difficulty communicating with speech or who have difficulty hearing. It is also a good medium for people with caring responsibilities or who experience difficulty finding a confidential space to speak in. I use Zoom Chat or Vsee as desktop or laptop chat platforms or Signal as a phone App. I have chosen these platforms as the most secure, easy and free to access. I am open to discussing other options although I would not agree to using WhatsApp.
This is my only asynchronous way of working by which I mean we are not working together at the same time. There are a number of ways this process can work. As a simple example we would agree to exchange emails on a weekly basis. We would agree a day for you to send your email to me and we would agree a day for me to reply. This will usually be within 3 days of me receiving your email. Email counselling may suit you if we are unable to find a mutually agreeable time for our sessions perhaps you work shifts or would be unable to commit to a regular time slot because of other commitments.
I find that all of these methods for communicating can be very effectively used to create a therapeutic relationship which is every bit as ood as the therapeutic relationships I have built in face to face work.