Jo has completed specific training in the delivery of therapy using webcam, through a training provider who is approved by the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO).
Why choose online therapy?
You might want to access online therapy through webcam for a number of reasons:
- You may have physical health conditions which make it difficult for you to travel to face-to-face appointments;
- Personal commitments might mean it is easier for you to access therapy through webcam if you travel a lot (e.g., for work), or if your preferred therapist is a distance from where you live;
- You might feel more comfortable with online therapy than therapy conducted face-to-face.
Things to bear in mind before choosing online therapy
People often think that therapy via webcam is just like face-to-face therapy, with the only difference being that it is conducted at a distance. However, there are some things to take into consideration when making your decision to engage in therapy via webcam:
- You will need to have Zoom installed on your computer (it’s free);
- You should feel comfortable and competent in using webcam technology, as any anxieties may get in the way of the therapeutic process;
- You should ensure that your technology (e.g., computer/laptop, internet/wifi connection) is of sufficient quality to reduce the likelihood of technical failure (e.g., loss of connection/slow connection) although this cannot guarantee that technical failures don’t occur;
- It may be harder to perceive non-verbal cues via webcam (e.g., body language, facial expressions) which could potentially lead to misunderstandings. This is why Jo will often check out that she has understood you correctly, to reduce the occurrence of such misunderstandings as much as possible.
Factors which might mean that online therapy is not suitable
It’s important for Jo to ensure as much as possible during the initial assessment stages that online therapy is appropriate. As such, there are some factors which may mean online therapy is not the most appropriate form of therapy for you at the moment. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- Ongoing incidents of self-harm;
- Ongoing suicidal ideation and/or well-formed plans to take your own life;
- Recent attempt(s) to take your own life;
- Recent admission(s) to mental health services;
- Ongoing symptoms of psychosis.
In such instances, Jo will explore other options for therapy with you. It might be more appropriate to access face-to-face therapy or other mental health services. Other useful numbers to access are:
Samaritans: Telephone 116 123 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline: 0808 800 2234
The process for accessing online therapy
- Jo offers an initial, free, 20 minute telephone consultation to discuss what you would like to bring to therapy. She will ask a bit about your personal history, your goals for therapy, and what approaches she uses when working with clients.
- After the initial consultation, if you both feel that online therapy might be appropriate, Jo will send you an Assessment and Contracting form which asks further questions about your current wellbeing. Once you have completed and returned this form you will have an initial assessment session via webcam to discuss the Assessment and Contracting form in more detail. This forms a further part of the assessment process to establish whether online therapy is appropriate for you at this time.
- If both you and Jo feel that online therapy is appropriate then further sessions can be arranged.
- If the assessment highlights that online therapy is not appropriate for you at this time, Jo may be able to offer face-to-face therapy (depending on her availability and your location) or she will provide you with websites where you can search for alternative therapists.
As with face-to-face therapy, there are limits to confidentiality in online therapy. During the course of therapy, if Jo feels that you, or someone else, might be at risk of serious harm, then she may contact a third party. Jo will always discuss this with you in the first instance. In such instances, it may also be necessary to review whether online therapy continues to be the most appropriate form of therapy for you.
Given the differences between online and face-to-face therapy, it’s important to ensure that your therapist has completed training in the online therapy they’re offering. Jo has completed additional training to work with clients using voice-only and webcam, and her training is approved by the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO).
If you’re unsure about your therapist’s competency to work with clients online, it’s best to ask which training they’ve completed and check whether this is approved by ACTO.
If you would like to enquire about online therapy please contact Jo to arrange an initial telephone consultation.