Following guidance on 16th March on the Coronavirus situation, I have decided to suspend face to face sessions to reduce contact and minimise the risk of infection. I aim to continue to offer the benefits of counselling as best I can while we all face unprecedented challenges.
I will review NHS advice regularly and will post updates here when I restart face to face sessions or make other changes which might affect the service I offer.
In the meantime I’m offering remote sessions, by phone or video call (using VSee, a more secure version of Skype, it’s free). I plan to offer earlier and later sessions than usual, and potentially sessions on Saturdays. I’m also considering outdoor face to face sessions depending on clearer safety advice.
I have a lot of experience of working remotely, so I know that some clients are initially doubtful but usually find it better than they expect, and some find they actually prefer remote sessions. Here are some points to consider when deciding if you’d like to try remote sessions.
Phone or videocall counselling can be more convenient, eg if you have a caring role, if travel time would make sessions awkward, if you sometimes work away, or if physical or mental health issues make it hard to leave home.
Some clients prefer videocall sessions to phone, as they may feel more connected, while others prefer the privacy, anonymity and simplicity of phone sessions.
For videocall sessions I use VSee which is like a more secure version of Skype. It meets the privacy and quality standards for healthcare so it’s very secure. You will need to download it and register, I send a link to do that and it’s a straightforward process. VSee is a free platform for this purpose.
You will need to think about how to have a private space for sessions, so that no-one can overhear you or oversee your computer; iPad or phone.
You will want to make sure you keep communications and any information on your computer, iPad or phone confidential, for example by using firewalls and password protection.
As I would in face to face counselling, I’ll explain my ways of working (for example, around confidentiality and cancellations) at the start of our first session. After the first session, you’re free to take time to reflect on it, and whether you want to book another session.