Skype Counselling. What is it?

A brief introduction for people new to Skype

I can fully appreciate that people are busy with family and work life that it may be difficult to fit in time for therapy. The travel time in some cases can stretch out an hour session to perhaps a couple of hours away from home. It is because of this I have incorporated both telephone and Skype counselling into my practice.
With telephone counselling it enables you to be counselled at a mutually beneficial time from the comfort of your own home or quiet space. Similarly with Skype this allows similar but with the opportunity for you to still work with me face to face, so to speak, should you wish to.
Both these methods would be discussed and agreed in advance with payment also taken in advance either by Paypal or bank transfer.
The fees are normally £25.00 per hour session for telephone counselling and £30:00 per hour session for Skype counselling. What is Skype? "Skype" is free computer software that permits people to chat face-to-face, in real-time, through their computer screens. Skype is a simple and quick software download, and as long as you have a web camera and microphone, you will be able to be seen and heard by anyone anywhere in the world if they also have the programme and equipment in place.
The advantages of Skype counselling is that you are not restricted to just seeing a counsellor who lives in your area. You can have a virtual one to one session with anyone in the country or, if you feel the need, the world.
It saves you time and money. No more travelling times or expenses and you can see your counsellor from the familiar surroundings of your home. This can be extremely beneficial for those of limited mobility or who may live in remote areas.
People who have used Skype counselling have stated that they feel they can open up more easily as they are usually more relaxed whilst at home or familiar surroundings.
Finally, the same rules of confidentiality still apply as it would in a one to one therapy session.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
Skype counselling is not suitable for those who are at risk of suicide, in acute crisis, or have serious mental health issues; there are limits to what a counsellor can do remotely. In such cases, your GP is always your first port of call. Couples counselling is not generally offered via Skype.
For your safety, check that your counsellor is experienced and properly accredited. In the UK, the main accrediting bodies for counsellors and psychotherapists are the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). The lead accrediting body for cognitive behaviour therapists is the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). Clinical and counselling psychologists are registered with the British Psychological Society (BPS). Your counsellor’s literature/website will say which professional body they belong to, and you can go online and check they are on the register. Counsellors working via Skype are bound by the codes of ethics of their professional accrediting organisation, same as in face-to-face work. Many have specific training in online counselling.
If you’re interested in counsellors outside the UK, finding a professionally accredited practitioner is more complex as titles and qualifications can be different from those in Britain. Find out as much as you can about that country’s professional counselling bodies and the therapist you’ve chosen before you commit to sessions.
Different counsellors will request different personal information from you depending on their way of working. Some will require just your name, address and phone number, while others may also ask for your GP’s details. Certain counsellors may allow you to remain anonymous and use the Skype microphone as you would a telephone (this is also free), rather than have both your faces onscreen.
For Skype counselling, you need a high-speed broadband connection, plus a web cam and microphone on your computer. These can be purchased fairly inexpensively if your machine doesn’t have them. In the initial online meeting, you and your prospective counsellor will check that you have a sufficiently good internet connection for counselling to take place. If one of you is only seeing the other’s face in pixelated form, counselling online will be a struggle.
You have to ensure you can be online at the appointed time, in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted or overheard.
Bear in mind there is always going to be a risk of the technology failing, which would be especially alarming if it occurred at a critical point in the session. You and your counsellor will agree what to do in the event of a technical glitch.
While not occupying the same physical space as their counsellor will be part of the appeal for some people, others might find it disconcerting. There is no handshake when you first meet and at the end of a course of therapy, no taking the therapist’s tissues at emotional moments, and no settling into the familiar chair in your counsellor’s room each week.
Skype counselling isn’t for everyone. If you don’t feel it’s working after a few sessions, you and your counsellor might conclude that you need a different type of help.

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