Having a counselling session on the phone or online will feel very different to coming in to see someone face to face. Rest assured, many therapists work in this way and it’s still possible to have meaningful sessions together even if you’re not in the same room as your counsellor.
I’ve put together this list below with some things to think about before your first phone or video session.
- How will you protect your confidentiality? This is one of the most important considerations. You will need to find a quiet, confidential place for your sessions where you feel safe to talk freely and are free from interruptions or the fear of being overheard. If you are going to be at home, you may need to consider how you let other members of the household know that you do not wish to be disturbed. Sitting in your parked car is a great option if your house is busy. You could even have a telephone session whilst walking in the park or sitting in the garden (weather permitting!).
- Do you have a good connection? Video counselling requires a strong and reliable connection. If you are using WiFi make sure you have a decent signal. If you’re opting for telephone counselling and using your mobile, make sure you have a good signal and that your battery is charged!
- What device will you use for video? I use a piece of software called Zoom for video calls and I use this on my laptop. I would recommend a laptop, desktop computer or tablet if you have one so that you can see your counsellor on a good sized screen. It’s possible to use a mobile too if necessary.
- Do you have a headset/headphones or earphones to use for video calls? This helps to protect your confidentiality and also makes it easier to hear your counsellor clearly. If you have them I would suggest using them.
- Does your webcam work for video calls? Make sure to check your webcam is working so that you can see your counsellor clearly during the session. If you don’t have a webcam then having a session over the phone might be more suitable.
Getting started on the day
- Get yourself ready 5-10 minutes before. This gives you time to make sure your technology is working. Get yourself comfy, take a few deep breaths and settle in to the moment.
- What if we have technical issues or are disconnected ? This can raise anxiety if it happens, especially if you are in the middle of sharing something important. Be sure to discuss a back up plan with your counsellor so that you know what to do if this happens.
If you have any questions about phone or video counselling or are interested in booking a session please do get in touch.