Online video conferencing is an effective, confidential and convenient alternative to face-to-face sessions, allowing for world-wide availability. My schedule is flexible and does not conform to normal business hours, meaning I can often take appointments in the early mornings, evenings and weekends.
Using a free, high-quality video conferencing program, we will be able to see and hear each other using computer and webcam (and headset if you choose). There are numerous platforms to choose from: My clients most commonly use Apple’s Face Time and Microsoft’s Skype. They are free, confidential and easy to use.
There are several groups of people for whom internet counselling is an ideal option:
1-People who travel a lot, work shifts, or for some other reason are unable to maintain a regular schedule of in-office appointments. This includes business travellers, touring musicians, actors and other artists, digital nomads, snowbirds, people who have been transferred to another part of the country (or world), servicemen and women, etc.
2-High profile people for whom privacy is an issue. This would include celebrities, politicians and high level executives whose private lives tend to put them in the spotlight. Rather than having to attend sessions at an office, people in this group can meet with me from the privacy of their own homes or offices or wherever they choose.
3-People who live in remote areas or are unable to leave their homes easily. For people with mobility issues, or who suffer from agoraphobia (the fear of going outside their homes), online sessions are an excellent option for services they would otherwise not be able to access.
4-People with very busy schedules and multiple commitments. These people may be juggling many responsibilities, both at work and home. They may have small children, a disabled child, or an elderly parent they are caring for. Their time is limited. Online contact is a good solution for these people, especially because we can schedule appointments outside of normal business hours.
5-People whose primary language is English but who are living in a country where English language services are not readily available. Access to English-language services is only a click away.
I will be speaking to you from a private room and using a headset or earphones in order to protect the confidentiality of what passes between us. Payment is made before the session, via email bank transfer or a secure payment system such as PayPal.
Benefits of Internet counselling
It is less expensive than a comparable in-office session due to lower overhead costs. You also save on transportation and parking costs.
It saves clients time because there is no travel to and from the office location.
If you are away from home from time to time, you don’t have to miss your session - just plug in, log on and connect.
Greater flexibility in terms of session times can be offered. This is ideal for shift workers, people with busy lives and people who travel frequently.
Some clients may find it is easier to be open and more comfortable online as opposed to face to face.
Challenges and Cautions
Internet sessions are not suitable for those who are at risk of suicide, in acute crisis, or have serious mental health issues. In these instances, please seek professional help. Your doctor can give you a referral to an appropriate mental health provider.
Unlike in an outside setting, the onus is on the client to ensure a confidential quiet space where you won’t be interrupted or overheard. You are responsible for creating a space where you feel comfortable and where you are free to talk and be open.
Bear in mind there is always going to be a risk of the technology failing, which would be especially disruptive and potentially upsetting if it occurred at a critical point in the session. You and I will discuss what to do in the event of a technical glitch.
How To Get Started
1. Using the Contact form on my website, send me an email message. We can talk about whether or not my services are a good option for you and discuss which program you would like to use.
2. Just like making an appointment at my office, we then set up a mutually workable date and time to talk online.
3. Payment for the session is due prior to the commencement of the video call. The initial session is primarily about getting to know each other, and assessing whether or not my skills and personality are a good match for you and the issue you are dealing with. If either of us decides it is not a good fit, I can sometimes use my extensive resources to try to match you with another professional provider, or connect you with a helpful service. If we decide to proceed, we’ll agree to an initial short-term plan to be evaluated and adjusted as needed.