Information about online and phone counselling
There are benefits to both online and phone counselling, like being able to access counselling from the comfort of your own home and more flexibility with times as no travel.
There are also things to consider: how comfortable you feel using internet technology, if you have access to a private computer where you will not be disturbed and if you have a space in your home where you will not be overheard.
Also with phone counselling considering how you may feel about not having visual cues.
There may also be internet difficulties with connections and breaks to connections.
That said if after considering the benefits and challenges we agree that our work together will be online or by telephone we can put in place as much as possible to ensure safe working via either of these means.
I am not able to promise absolute confidentiality over the internet, but I will put in place security measures to where possible prevent confidentiality being compromised:
I will offer a HIPPA compliant secure encrypted platform for online work; I use Doxy.me
I will use a secure Wi-Fi connection;
I will ensure that I work from a space that our work will not be overheard by any third parties.
I will ensure at the end of any online communications I will close securely.
15 minutes prior to our meeting I will send a link via email to invite you to join me for a secure online video call. You do not need to download anything, just to click the link at the time of our meeting and it will take you to a secure waiting space where you be asked to allow camera and audio.
Finding a safe and comfortable place in your own private space where you will not be overheard or disturbed when you are undertaking distant counselling is also important so that confidentiality of our work together is maintained.
Also ensuring that you have access to password protected WI-FI that has sufficient speed, generally if your internet speed is sufficient for You Tube it will be ok for video conferencing. It is also recommended that where possible you use a private, password protected computer whereby you can secure it and emails from unauthorised viewing. You may also prefer to wear earphones which not only improves the sound quality, but also enhances privacy.
All of our work together is confidential and so it would not be appropriate to record any session content without the explicit consent of both parties or to share any contents including any written materials on social media.
In order for me to comply with my professional obligations and in case of emergencies it is important that I know your location. Therefore, if you plan to be at a different location for an online session, please can you let me know before we begin in order for me to update my details.
In the event that we lose connection during an online session or if I am not able to email you prior to our arranged session time due to technical difficulties then I will text you to let you know and if you experience any technical difficulties prior to or during online counselling then if you could text me to let me know and we can discuss convenient alternative arrangements.
If we lose connection during phone counselling, then I will attempt to reconnect by phone; if we are not able to reconnect then I will text you to let you know or if texting is also not available I can email and we can discuss alternative arrangements.