Online counselling therapy is a way for you to engage in counselling using internet technology such as telephone or webcam video. Most of the reasons that people seek face-to-face therapy can be worked on in online therapy. You direct your counselling by selecting the method of communication you feel most comfortable with. You choose what you want to discuss in therapy, the time, the place, and the pace of your counselling to suit your needs.
Every effort is made to provide a safe and secure environment for your online therapy with encryption software to protect your confidentiality.
How it Works
Google Meet is a computer and smartphone application that provides a way for you to see your counsellor face-to-face from your device (computer or smartphone or other electronic device) whilst engaging in therapy. Google meet is functional with most web browsers on a computer or if you are on a smartphone, you can download and use the Google Meet App from your app store. Sessions are 50 to 55 minutes in length. Being able to see your counsellor gives you more of the benefits you get from face-to-face counselling but with the convenience of online therapy. By talking you hear tone of voice which is a way to convey empathy and with video you see non-verbal communications such as facial expressions.
Telephone counselling / teletherapy
To protect anonymity, convenience, or because of some restrictions, some clients prefer the telephone method for counselling online. This can occur through a traditional landline phone, a mobile phone, or through Google Meet / Facetime audio.
Though visuals are lost without the video aspect, the counsellor may still be able to pick up your emotional states through your tone of voice, pace of speech, and other cues.
Aspects to consider:
As opposed to face-to-face counselling where you would meet with the counsellor at his or her office, you will need to be aware of/provide the following:
- You will need to arrange your own private room or space where you will not be overheard by others.
- You need a level of understanding of technology to make the applications work, though we will endeavour to talk you through the process as best we can.
- To exchange a working contract, you would need access to email, a printer and scanner or smartphone/digital camera.
- For the webcam counselling, you will need a continuous internet connection for the duration of the online meetings. In our experience, a wired ethernet connection performs better than connecting over wi-fi, especially if there are interior walls between the router and your device. Also, if there are other users on your network streaming or uploading content while the counselling session is going then this can adversely affect the connection as the bandwidth is reduced.
Benefits of online counselling
- Counselling therapy from your own home at a time and place that suits you.
- Secure encryption software offers confidentiality and peace of mind.
- No chance that you may be seen entering the counsellor’s practice.
- Access to counselling may be more immediate.
- Flexibility to choose the technology you feel is best for you: telephone or webcam.
Other things to consider
- Are you comfortable using internet technology?
- Would you prefer to see your counsellor face-to-face?
- Do you feel you can express your feelings effectively using phone or video chat?
- Do you feel your situation is too complex to discuss via the internet?
- Is there a computer terminal that you can use privately without interruption?
- Where there are limitations in ‘seeing’ each other’s cues or body language there can be misunderstandings.
Online counselling therapy takes place within a secure, encrypted environment to offer you confidentiality and safety. Webcam counselling takes advantage of the encrypted services offered by Google Meet.
Because Online counselling differs from face-to-face counselling, we have a separate Sample Contract for Online Counselling.
Here is a helpful video that explains how to join a Google Meet online meeting: