Female client using laptop for online counselling

Online Counselling Handy Hints

Adapting to our dynamic world is certainly presenting new challenges for all of us.

The transition to online counselling for most people has been sudden and a necessity, rather than a preferred mode for counselling. Online counselling is not for everyone and may not suit some issues or people.

For this reason, I recommend that you try at least 3 online sessions before deciding if it suits you.

We’ve put together a few suggestions that might help you get the most out of your online counselling experience and make it as comfortable as possible.

  1. Ensure you are in a private space

    This might sound fairly easy, but if you have children, it may be quite challenging. Some clients sit in their car, others will schedule the session when another parent or carer can be available to help them carve out some private space. You are welcome to negotiate with me for a time that suits you. I have some flexibility across my working days of Wednesday to Saturday each week.

  2. Make sure you have confirmed with me which platform you are using

    I use one of three platforms: professional Zoom, Skype or Facetime.

  3. Try using a headset, ear phones or ear pods

    Using a headset, ear phone or ear pods can significantly reduce distracting background noise and enable all parties to hear each other better.

  4. Have your facial features well lit

    I can see you better and you will see me clearly by placing any lighting in front of you. This way your face is illuminated well. Any lighting behind you, such as open curtains, open doors, or any sort of electrical or other light will make you dark. It is then difficult to see your facial features.

  5. Good connection to the internet

    While a good internet connect is mostly out of your control, you can do a few things to assist. Be as close as possible to your modem or Wi-Fi port; limit other family members being online whilst your session is in progress; use a device that you know works well with your Wi-Fi. If your Wi-Fi connection is not great, you may want to consider using mobile data. In these instances, please check that you have enough data to undertake the online call. I cannot take responsibility for any disruption to the call due to poor internet speeds. I make all reasonable efforts ensure I have a reliable internet connection when undertaking sessions.

  6. Chose the right device

    Your tablet, laptop or PC are best. However, phones can be used. Tablets are best used in portrait mode. Make sure you do not need to hold your device. This way, your hands are free to move as you talk and you can adjust your position comfortably without me having to look up your nose, at the ceiling or at another part of your space you may prefer to keep private. If you use your phone, turn off notifications. This way, you won’t be interrupted during your session. Please consider sending all calls automatically to message bank.

  7. Couples sessions

    These can be successfully managed in a couple of ways:
    1. Both people are seated next to each other and need to be able to turn and face each other easily so a dialogue can be facilitated. It is best to use a laptop or tablet for this type of session.
    2. Both people use their own device, are in a different room (or even a different location) and connect in using Zoom (preferred platform). Being physically located in another space is important to reduce feedback noise.

  8. Home isolation and issues for counselling

    Some people like to bring an issue or topic to the session and may worry working from home or being socially distanced will impact this. Please be reassured you started counselling for a reason and that reason is still present, whether you are working at home or in the work-place. In session issues will make themselves known to you. I have never had a client sit for a full session with nothing to say.

Allow a few sessions to see if online counselling is meeting your needs or not. Talk to me so we can see what we can do together to support you during this time of social distancing and isolating for health reasons.

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As restrictions surrounding COVID-19 begin to ease in Western Australia, Perth Counselling and Psychotherapy is once again offering face-to-face sessions, in addition to online sessions. For those of you visiting us in-person, rest assured that we are strictly following social distancing regulations and will not have any physical contact with clients. If you have any questions, please contact your therapist for more information.