Breakthroughs in therapy are few and far between but there is one innovation that I believe will make a big difference to clients – the use of Skype. That’s because it allows one of the most important aspects of real therapy to take place and that is the regular as clockwork weekly appointment and it’s the regularity of the sessions that make all the difference.
Skype is software that you can easily and safely download off the internet for free. You can use video Skype on your PC, laptop, TV and even your mobile phone. For more information, click here: Skype
For people who are unable, for whatever reason, to see a counsellor in person, online counselling using Skype, has been the answer for well over a decade or more. The growing body of research into online counselling has established the efficacy of online therapy with treatment outcomes at least equal to traditional in-office settings.
Online therapy has additional benefits unrealized by office-based treatments as clients often feel at greater ease and less intimidated than they would in traditional settings. This makes clients more likely to be honest and thus allow the counsellor to provide better service.
Of course for many face-to-face work is preferable but Skype allows many people to engage in therapy. For some people skypotherapy opens up a whole new world for:-
- Anyone who is disabled and unable to leave the house
- Agoraphobics who need therapy in order to leave the house, (the Catch 22 of this disorder)
- People who travel on business.
- People who have family commitments that mean leaving the house is not always practical.
- Anyone who lives miles away from the nearest therapist
- People who are working on shame based issues because Skype gives them more control over each session (they feel more secure).
- Anyone living abroad who wants an English speaking therapist.
Changes in the way we live and work make that important regular commitment to therapy very difficult – Skype is the great enabler of modern therapy.
Is video therapy for me?
If you have not already got Skype or FaceTime, why not spend a few minutes to download it for free. You can test out what it is like by having a 15-minute free trial conversation with me to see how it feels and to ask any questions you may have.
Paying for Skype therapy
I can e-mail you an invoice for Paypal payment by prior arrangement before the session. A 60-minute session costs £60 for individuals and £75 for couples. I also offer a few reduced-rate places to counselling and full-time students as well as those on lower incomes who can attend mid-afternoon appointments. Please get in touch to learn more.
Points to consider
You must be over 18 years of age to use online counselling in the UK. If you are under 18 and need to talk to a counsellor visit the following links:www.childline.org.uk or www.beatbullying.org
Online Therapists cannot respond to crisis situations. If you are feeling suicidal please contact email@example.com or www.metanoia.org/suicide/ or your GP.
Many health insurance policies or employee assistance programs (EAP's) do not cover online therapy.
You will need the downloaded free Skype software, a high-speed broadband connection, a webcam and a microphone (or a headset). Most new laptops have inbuilt webcams and microphones. The speakers on your PC or laptop would also need to be in working order. To find out more, click here: Running video Skype
Security and confidentiality
Password: Choose a password that nobody else will be able to guess and which is different to passwords you use elsewhere. The password must be unique and not a common password. You can make it a sentence eg. MyTherapySessions. You could even include numbers or special characters eg. MyTh3rapySess!ons. Changing your password regularly will give you added security.
Profile: Skype will give you the opportunity to put details on a profile. You can keep this entirely blank if you’d like to, since whatever you put on this can be seen by others who use Skype and is therefore publicly available. You are also able to change your profile at any time.
Skype privacy settings: You can control who can call you, send you an instant message and also manage your Skype-use history. To update your settings on a PC, open Skype and click Tools > Options > Privacy. On a Mac it's Skype > Preferences > Privacy. Here you can control who contacts you.
Being safe online: As with anything online, you need to protect yourself and your computer. Viruses, for example, can cause havoc with your computer whether or not you are a Skype user. You need to be sure you have all the usual precautions in place such as an antivirus program, using a personal firewall (there are many excellent free programs available) and updating security programs regularly. Visit InSafe or Get Safe Online for more information on secure internet use.
Confidentiality: Once your computer and internet settings are secure, you will also need to consider how private you will be when you have your video counselling session. To help you speak more freely, you will need to be confident that nobody can overhear you or interrupt the session. You need to consider when you can be alone in front of your computer for 60 minutes a week. Perhaps there is a time when family commitments are not so demanding. Or perhaps you can book an office at work regularly and access the internet from a laptop.
Skype does have a security policy and you can read more about this on their site.