Photo of cedar tree branches with soft new growth of early summer.
Looking up

  • Q: What are the benefits and challenges of online therapy?
  • A: Both are individual, to an extent. Some people find it beneficial to work from home; for some it solves accessibility problems. Having a pet with you can be beneficial (or not!). Some people don’t want or are unable to work by video, and prefer phone therapy. Challenges include technological hitches, finding a private space to work, data security, and increased risk in case of an emergency. I do my utmost to mitigate these challenges. I do a risk assessment with potential clients before contracting to work together, as online therapy isn’t suitable for people in crisis, or who are experiencing psychosis, for example. I agree workable protocols for technological hitches or medical emergencies with clients before beginning therapy as well. (See below for more on data security, and for crisis resources.)
  • Q: I’ve never done video counselling before. Can you help me with the technical side of things?
  • A: Absolutely. We can take things step-by-step, until hopefully the technology becomes a help to you and no longer an obstacle. We will also work out a plan for any technological interruptions.
  • Q: Do I have to see myself on screen during the sessions?
  • A: No, you don’t have to see yourself if you don’t wish! It’s true that video counselling isn’t for everyone, but I’m happy to work with you to find out if you might like it more than you think. If not, we can work by phone or by e-mail (see below).
  • Q: How exactly does video counselling work?
  • A: I use Zoom, which is a secure platform. You don’t need a Zoom account; I email you a link for your sessions. At our agreed time you would click on the link, and I would let you into the virtual therapy room. If you are having technical problems, we will make contact by phone, text or email.
  • Q: How does e-mail therapy work?
  • A: I actually prefer to call it Therapy by Writing. You write what you wish to share for up to one hour, then password-protect and email me your document. I then read and respond for one hour, and return it to you within an agreed 24-hour window. You use Signal, a secure text app, to send me your password.
  • Q: Is it possible to mix and match how we do therapy, sometimes meet by video, sometimes by phone or writing?
  • A: Absolutely. Some clients find the flexibility in formats to be very helpful.
  • Q: What does “trauma-informed” mean?
  • A: It means that I am aware that clients may come with unresolved and painful experiences (trauma in the largest sense). Sometimes clients are unaware of how deeply they may have been affected by events, especially in early childhood. I endeavour to work in a way that is gentle, respectful and doesn’t retraumatise, if such things come up. I seek to help clients process difficult emotions; together we can identify coping strategies for when you may be activated or overwhelmed. Also, by working with the body, it is possible to find healing from a traumatic event without recounting the particulars of what happened.
  • Q: How much do you charge?
  • A: £45 per weekly session. I also offer concessionary and donation rates; please enquire.
  • Q: How do clients pay you?
  • A: Normally by bank transfer.
  • Q: How many sessions do you offer?
  • A: When we first draw up a contract, we will discuss whether you wish only a certain number of sessions, or to leave it more open-ended. In either case, we will periodically review how the work is going, including exploring whether continuing is therapeutically beneficial.
  • Q: I’m chronically ill and don’t think I could manage a full hour session once a week. Can you still help me?
  • A: I very much hope so. I understand that therapy takes energy, and that some conditions leave people precious little energy. I seek to make therapy accessible, and would want to explore how we could work in ways that make therapy possible for you.
  • Q: How can I be sure my data will be secure?
  • A: Zoom is an encrypted video platform. Proton mail is very secure and can be used to send encrypted emails. For e-mail therapy, I use a secure text app called Signal to communicate passwords. I password-protect electronic records, including minimal session notes. I keep these, and any written data, securely. My contract and GDPR statement for clients go into more detail.
  • Q: I really need help urgently. Where can I turn?

A: If you are in imminent danger of harming yourself, call 999 or go to your nearest A&E, or contact the Samaritans: 116 123 or jo@samaritans.org

If you are not at imminent risk, you can contact your GP or consult Hub of Hope (a database of mental health resources in the UK, search your postcode) https://hubofhope.co.uk. Other UK resources include No Panic (0300 772 9844); Shout (text-based helpline) text Shout to 85258; in Scotland, Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87)

  • Q: What if I’m not happy with your service?
  • A: I hope that you would feel you could bring up any unhappiness you had with my work, and that we could find a solution together. If, however, you wished to make a complaint, you could contact the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, of which I am a Registered Member).
%d bloggers like this: