Visit www.samaritans.org or www.befrienders.org for additional help.
Where I feel online counselling would not be the most suitable means of support, I will make every effort to assist you in a referral to a suitable alternative source of support.
I am not able to provide online counselling to any person who is under the age of 18. If this applies to you, I can help with information on referral to other agencies providing face to face counselling services or online work which is specifically directed to a younger age group.
Benefits of Online Counselling
Types of Online Counselling
Instant Messaging Counselling
Instant messaging counselling is carried out at a pre-arranged time using an instant messenger application. I suggest we use Zoom which you would need to install on your PC prior to sessions commencing. (Skype is less secure for text based online counselling due to the way Microsoft stores data un-encrypted for a short period). Instant feedback obtained from online messaging counselling can be comforting for those who wish to interact and respond immediately. At our agreed time we will both log on so that we exchange instant messages for the length of the session. You can download Zoom by clicking here.
For video counselling, again I suggest we Zoom. In order to access this form of online counselling, your computer must have a webcam and microphone so we will both be able to see and hear each other. Together we will plan a suitable time for us to meet. Before your first session you may want to ensure you are alone and won't be disturbed. It is also a good idea to make yourself comfortable and check you have good internet connection before you start. As with instant messaging counselling, we will meet at a pre agreed time.
We will agree in advance a day and time by which I will respond to your email(s), typically the same every week. I will spend the length of a counselling session, 50 minutes, reading and responding to you. I suggest you spend a similar amount of time composing your email as this helps to foster a commitment to the counselling process. As counselling deals with sensitive information I suggest we use the secure email platform Protonmail which can be downloaded for free by clicking here.
Assessment and Agreement
These forms include further information regards my online counselling service as well as details regards the logistics of working together. There is also a section for you to provide details about yourself, your current situation and what type of online counselling you are interested in.
Guidance for clients seeking online counselling
It is difficult to completely hide your internet activity but here are some helpful tips which can assist in maintaining the privacy of your email counselling:
Setting up a Private e-mail Address
If you want to send and receive personal e-mail it is possible to set up your own e-mail address which only you will have access to as long as you keep your username and password private. You can set up a web-based e-mail address so you can access e-mail from any computer with an internet connection by logging on at the main site of the provider you have chosen. Protonmail offers free encrypted email services which offer security for your mail exchanges, either on a personal level or when engaging with a counsellor.
How do I choose where to use the internet?
If you are seeking privacy the safest way will be somewhere you are unlikely to be disturbed, or that others could view the screen or hear whilst you are writing an email or in a webcam session with your counsellor.
Your website history / cache file
Your computer automatically keeps a history of the web pages you visit and may save graphics, cookies and other files to your computer. This means others can find out which websites you have visited by looking through your computer's history or cache file. You can clear your history or empty your cache file in your browser's settings.
Click on the Tools menu (in the row at the top of the browser).
Select Internet Options from the drop down menu.
Select the tab labelled 'General'.
Under the title, 'Temporary Internet Files', click on 'Delete Files'.
You can also check the box that says delete all offline content.
Then, under 'History' click on 'Clear History.'
Then click OK, at the bottom.