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Could Online or Phone Counselling be right for you?

People chose remote counselling for a number of reasons. Often it is about the convenience of cutting out travel time. Some may feel safer in their own environment. Some may want to reduce the risk of contact in times of COVID. Others may want to see a counsellor outside of their catchment area to enhance privacy and confidentiality. It reduces the chances of meeting your counsellor outside of the therapy room, running into them by accident when you are out and about. However, remote counselling is not suitable for everyone. Read the following tips on how to prepare and find out if it could work for you. If you are interested in booking an initial getting-to-know session with us, contact Lisa or Susanne.

How to prepare to Zoom or Phone Counselling

General Preparations

  1. If you are the primary caregiver of a minor or another vulnerable person (child, elder, a person with physical or mental health disability), please make sure to have someone to help you to look after them whilst you are in a counselling session and for some time after so that you have processing time.

  2. Confidentiality remains key to our work and you agree not to record the sessions.  Your counsellor will not be recording them either.

  3. Make sure that you will not be disturbed for the duration of the session and that the door to the room you are sitting in is closed.  Do not let anyone else listen in to any part of remote session (in person or via phone or any other technical device).
  4. Pick a room or place that you feel safe in. Where possible, avoid trigger-places (i.e. a room where you often have arguments)
  5. Be comfortable (use the bathroom before the session, have water/tea to hydrate yourself, check your room temperature, dress appropriately and keep a box of tissues nearby).
  6. It is very easy to hear background noises e.g. animals and washing machines and kettles etc. so please make sure you are in a quiet location. Ask other household members to keep your environment quiet. 
  7. If you think it helpful, we can create a safe word/question as a way for you to signal that you are not alone and the confidentiality of our session is being compromised. We can discuss and agree the process that would be appropriate in your situation (for example ending the session or pausing for a few minutes until you restored a safe environment for yourself).


Preparing for Zoom Counselling

  1. If you are using a computer, laptop or tablet for the video session, make sure your mobile or other phones in the vicinity are switched off.
  2. Ensure that listening devices (Alexa, Siri, Google, etc) are switched off. You want to keep this session confidential.
  3. Position your laptop, phone or tablet camera at a sensible height so that I can clearly see your face and that the camera is at eye level. Avoid hand-holding the device; it’s strenuous for you over the course of 50 minutes and it makes for a wobbly viewing experience.
  4. Have your computer or mobile set up with Zoom as specified in the email invitation I sent you prior to the session. Make sure your microphone and video are turned on. 
  5. Make sure there is adequate lighting in the room you are in and your face is well lit so I can see you. Have the light source (window or lamp) in front of you, not behind you.
  6. Some people use headphones during online sessions.  If you can create a quiet space then there is normally no need for headphones, although headphones and mic can improve the sound and listening quality of the video call. Pick what works for you.
  7. Join the meeting at the agreed time. 
  8. If the video connection drops or gets cut off, both parties will use the initial session link to reconnect the session. In case of technical or connectivity problems, I will ring you on the phone number we agree as back-up.


Preparing for Phone Counselling

  1. We agree what telephone number I shall use to ring you for telephone counselling.
  2. Where possible, use a landline as the connection is normally more stable.
  3. If I am ringing you on your mobile phone, make sure it is sufficiently charged or connected to a charger whilst you talk.
  4. If the phone gets cut off, I will ring you again straight away.


After the Counselling Session

After a face-to-face counselling session you have some time to yourself as you leave our premises. That may not be the case when you connect for remote counselling from your home where others may be present. Consider how you can arrange for some processing time after a remote session. Ask to remain undisturbed or go for a walk afterwards.